When I was little, my brother used to joke that a box of Christmas candy would probably go through so many regiftings that it’d make its way back to its original owner. I don’t think the candy was junk per se, but it carried an air of fatigue, that it was the 124th instance of unbridled sugar. Even when I give gifts, I wonder if the other person begrudgingly eats my stuff.
So this year, I decided to give something healthy yet festive. It also has a long shelf life, so you don’t have to eat it all now, though I hope you do. The idea came to me when I made a care package for a friend who’s spending the holidays abroad. If she couldn’t come here, I’d bring the holidays to her. This is my condensed version of Thanksgiving and Christmas: granola with spices, cranberries, and pecans.
The basic granola recipe is from Alton Brown; I’ve dialed down the sugar and oil for my tastes, and you can create endless variations by adding your favorites fruits, nuts, and spices. For example, Alton’s original recipe calls for coconut, but I like to substitute flax seed or toasted okara (leftover soy bean pulp from homemade soy milk).
Related Link: more edible holiday gifts
Inspired by Good Eats
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Toast pecans for about 10 min., or until lightly colored and fragrant. Chop coarsely. Lower oven temperature to 250° F.
- In a large bowl, combine the oats, pecans, flax seed, spices, and brown sugar.
- In a small bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt.
- Add maple syrup mixture to the oats, stir, and spread on two sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes for even browning.
- Remove from oven and mix dried cranberries till distributed evenly.