This weekend I began the very first of my holiday baking! I’m packing up boxes of Christmas gifts for our parents in Newfoundland and my best friend in Ottawa, and decided to sneak in some homemade granola!
I’ve had this Gingerbread Granola recipe in my pocket for a couple of years. My recipe testers have already tried it, as I was going to include the recipe in my newest cookbook. i opted to include a different recipe, and instead post this granola in time for you to enjoy for the holidays.
This vegan granola was a hit with my testers. It’s crunchy, flavorful, and yields some good clusters. It’s also made without added oil, and sweetened only with maple syrup and brown rice syrup. It’s perfect for Christmas and the holidays, and especially wonderful for gifting! Normally I use mason jars to gift granola, but for shipping back to family I packed in small ziploc bags and then into festive gift boxes. How do you package granola for gifts? Have any ideas to share?
I’m keeping this short and sweet today as I have a “Jingle Bell walk” to join at school and have to get these boxes in the mail! So, let’s wrap it up! (I’m fully of the puns today.)
Bring the beauty and aroma of freshly baked gingerbread into a granola that is perfect for breakfast, snacking – or for gifting during the holidays! Makes about 4 1/2 cups, depending on how ‘clustery’ you keep it!
3 cups rolled oats (use certified gluten-free for that option)
1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped pecans OR 1/4 cup hemp seeds (see note)
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1⁄4 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp cashew butter or almond butter
3 – 4 tbsp pure maple syrup (adjust to desired sweetness)
1/2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup dried cranberries or other dried fruit (optional, can omit, see note)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the oats, pecans or hemp seeds, spices and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, first combine the nut butter with the maple syrup and molasses, stirring to fully blend. Then, add the brown rice syrup, and vanilla to the maple/molasses mixture and stir through. Add wet mixture to dry mixture, and stir through until well combined. Transfer mixture to your lined baking sheet and spread out to evenly distribute. Bake for 27 – 30 minutes, stirring a couple of times throughout baking to ensure the mixture browns evenly. Remove from oven, stir in dried fruit if using, and bake for just another 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven again. At this point the granola may not look completely dry. Do not overbake it, as it will dry more as it cools. Let cool completely, and then break up into clusters. Once cool, store in an airtight container. Eat straight, or with non-dairy milk or to top fresh fruit or non-dairy yogurt.
Nuts Note: Feel free to substitute 3-4 tbsp of pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds in place of the nuts or hemp seeds.
Spice Note: For a more ‘everyday’ version of this granola, simply reduce/cut some of the spices. Omit the ginger, allspice, and cloves. Reduce the cinnamon to about 1 tsp, and you can also add a few pinches of freshly grated nutmeg if you like. Also reduce the blackstrap molasses to about 1-2 teaspoons.
Dried fruit Note: I don’t always add dried fruit to granola, as I sometimes like the sweetness as is. So, you can choose to add some or not – and you can also try adding a few tablespoons of finely chopped crystallized ginger instead of cranberries or raisins! It will add a definite flavor kick!
photo credit: thanks to Nicole Axworthy