This post is about an alternative DIY gift for the holidays.
For friends who are already up to their eyeballs in cookie trays at work.
For friends who are feeling a bit unwell from the holiday party the night before and need an easy breakfast–one that is not the questionable peppermint bark they found in their pockets.
Let’s give these friends a break. Let’s give the gift of granola.
Fear not, dear reader.
Not only are you giving the gift of health during a month that’s one long sugar-coma, but you’re also giving yourself the gift of time. In 5 minutes of prep and 45 minutes of baking, you can create a bountiful batch of homemade granola.
You are now liberated from your kitchen to pursue other holiday traditions. Like actually enjoying the Christmas season instead of being a slave to your stove. Consider this my gift to you.
Maple Olive Oil Granola
adapted from the always excellent Melissa Clark from The New York Times
Makes about 9 cups. This is a great amount for serving brunch. I’d perhaps double for gift giving.
- 2 ½ cups of oats
- 3 cups of nuts and seeds (my favorites are almond meal, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, leftover trail mix, coconut chips, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and yes, even graham cracker crumbs)
- ¾ cup pure maple syrup (you can also use honey or agave nectar)
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tspn sea salt
- 1 tspn cinnamon
- 1 tspn nutmeg
- 2 cups of dried fruit (my favorites are dates, apricots, cherries and cranberries)
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, combine everything. Spread mixture in an even layer on a baking sheet with a high rim. Press down on the layer with a spatula as if you were making granola bars.
3. Bake for about 45 minutes. Please note that the top will not become golden brown. That’s okay. The granola that is touching the pan will become golden. You can check by poking at a corner of the pan if you want.
4. Once the bottom of the granola has a nice golden crust (see aforementioned poke-the-corner method), use the spatula to press down evenly on the granola. This will help to make those nice granola clusters that everyone fights over. Let it cool completely (up to an hour, if you can wait that long before digging in).
5. Using the spatula and/or spoon, scoop the granola into your container(s). Keep the lid off to make sure the granola has completely cooled down. It keeps for up to 1 week in an airtight container.
Note: if you like stickier granola, use more liquid. If you like drier granola, use less liquid. Find the combination that best works for you.
I actually make this granola year round. Mostly because I can’t stomach spending $7 on fancy-pants granola when I can make it myself. It’s delightful with Greek yogurt and berries. The tang of the yogurt with the savory-sweetness of the granola is pretty much a breakfast revolution.