Christmas Granola

December 22, 2011

I promised you a Christmasy recipe, and a Christmasy recipe you shall get!  I was inspired to make Christmas granola by some granola I had from this bakery back in North Carolina.  My recipe is very different than that one, but just as delicious (if I do say so myself).

Here’s what you need (this is for 10 cups of granola – feel free to cut it in half or double it as needed!):

6 c. oats

2 1/2 c. dried cranberries

1 1/4 c. hazelnuts, chopped

1 c. sunflower seeds (hulled, obviously)

5 tsp. freshly grated orange zest (I found three large oranges gave me about the right amount of zest)

2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 1/4 c. honey

3 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. salt (I prefer coarse sea salt, but table salt might just do the trick)*

Start by preheating your oven to 160 degrees celsius, or 320 fahrenheit.

Then, combine all your dry ingredients – oats, cranberries, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, orange zest, cinnamon, and salt – in a large bowl.  Just dump it on in there, like this:

Now, put the honey in a saucepan on LOW heat (listen to me – LOW heat) for about 45 seconds, just until it starts to get runny.  Add the vanilla, stir it around a bit, and then pour that over your oat mixture.

Stir it up.

For a minute you might think, “This is not enough honey.  It’s not going to touch all my oats and nuts and fruits.”  You’re wrong.  Keep stirring.

See?  Told you.

Now, spoon that gooey goodness onto a baking tray or into a roasting pan.  Don’t pile it too thick, but you don’t have to spread it paper thin either.

Stick it in the oven for 20-30 minutes (oven heats vary – mine took more like 30).  Every 10 minutes, take the pan out and give it a little stir, and then spread it out again, so every bit gets toasted. When it’s golden and lovely, it’s done.  (But don’t let it get dark brown.  Dark brown = burnt)

When you take it out, you might think it’s not done because it still seems gooey.  But it is done.  Set it on the counter and let it cool completely, and once it’s cool it’ll be crunchy and delicious and perfect, like this!

I had to make several batches, because 10 cups is actually quite a lot.  Once they’d all cooled, I scooped the granola into glass jars, which I covered with a circle of brown butcher paper, and tied with some red yarn.

Voila!  Christmas Granola and delicious gift for all your nearest and dearest.

*I put salt in EVERY sweet thing I make, ever.  The tiniest kick of salty makes sweet treats and baked goods that much sweeter. 

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