Oh hey! It is December. I love December. Christmas is on it’s way and we get to drink things like peppermint hot chocolate and caramel apple cider. Supposedly cold weather and warm clothing are a part of December as well, but not here in South Louisiana. I guess we are getting ready for a tropical Christmas.
I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking about making some homemade gifts this year, with Pinterest overtaking the world of creativity, there is an abundance of ideas from beeswax candles to adorably packaged baked goods to coffee sets.
To add to your idea list, I give you: homemade granola. Delicious, healthy, easily packaged, pretty to present, and enjoyed by most if not all. My mom has always made the most fabulous granola. This recipe is a bit hers, a bit mine, and a bit of gathered inspiration. Granola can be enjoyed many ways: with cold milk, scooped onto creamy yogurt & berries, as a frozen yogurt topping, or baked into cookies. I hope you try it and you like it!
makes about 12 cups
1 to 1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
8 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 heaping cup coarsely chopped banana chips (optional, only if you REALLY like them)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a large bowl, toss together coconut, nuts, banana chips (if using), rolled oats, cinnamon, and salt.
In a medium saucepan over low heat, stir together the oil, maple syrup, and honey. Stir until melted together. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract. Stir together.
Add the wet ingredients, all at once, to the rolled oat mixture. Toss to coat, insuring that all of the dry ingredients are coated in the maple syrup mixture. Divide the mixture between the two prepared baking pans. Spread into an even layer.
Bake granola for 45 minutes, removing the pans every 15 minutes to stir. Once mixture is evenly browned and toasted, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
When, done, the granola should be a nice golden color. It will darken after you take it out of the oven. Granola lasts several weeks! Enjoy!