During the holiday season I like to give gifts of love, and baking is how I like to spread my love. My all-time favorite, healthy, go-to gift is homemade granola. It’s easy to make, requires minimal baking time, and one batch can fill up to five containers. (I whipped up a batch today while the boys were napping.) Personally, I like to put the granola in canning jars and ‘dress’ them up for gift-giving, but you can be creative with the container you choose.
The best part of granola is that you can substitute any type of nut, seed, fruit or spice you prefer. Here’s the recipe with my favorites:
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup or honey or agave
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cherries
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a large bowl stir together oats, almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt. In a small saucepan melt butter with honey over low heat, stirring regularly. When butter is melted, add vanilla and give a final stir. Pour butter mixture over oat mixture and stir until well combined.
On a large baking sheet (preferably one with sides), spread granola evenly in a thin layer. Place in oven to bake, stirring every 5 minutes to keep from sticking or burning, until golden brown and crisp, about 20 minutes. (Do not overbake, granola will crisp more when cooled.)
Cool granola in pan on top of stove. Stir in dried fruits. Granola may be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. Package in your favorite container and you have multiple gifts of love to give.
Happy Holidays to you and your family!