Sunday, December 15, 2013

Vanilla Spice Granola

Here's an idea for a holiday gift from your kitchen: granola! It's a nice change from cookies and fudge -- not that there's anything wrong with those, of course but I like to mix it up. 

Granola is easy to make and you can make a lot at a time so there's plenty to share with all of your friends. Here's the version I came up with this year.

Vanilla Spice Granola

8 cups regular rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup flavorless oil (safflower, canola, etc.)
1 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chopped raw walnuts
1 1/2 cups sliced raw almonds
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray or lightly oil two large baking sheets with oil.

In a large mixing bowl, stir oats, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and salt together. In a small bowl, whisk oil, maple syrup, and vanilla together. Pour the oil mixture over the oats but leave a couple of tablespoons of the liquid in the small bowl. Stir the liquid into the oats until they are coated. Divide the oats between the two baking sheets and spread to an even layer in each pan. Bake 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets about halfway through so it bakes evenly.

Mix the nuts and coconut with the remaining maple syrup mixture until coated. Add to the baked oats. Stir them in and move the browned oats around the edges into the center. Spread the mixture again in an even layer and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the granola is a light golden brown. Cool completely. If you like add a couple of cups of raisins or dried cranberries or cherries.

For gifting--make sure the granola is completely cool. Transfer into plastic bags that you can tie with festive ribbon--or place into pretty jars or tins.

This makes about 11 cups of granola (or more if you add fruit)


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