Granola makes a wonderful healthy gift any time of year.  Filled with nutritional goodness of almonds, pecans, dried cherries, oats, local honey, maple syrup (the real stuff), raisins, and dates.  When guests arrive, have granola ready to serve over greek yogurt for breakfast or in small bags for a hike in the woods. Recently I have added to the flavors chopped apples and small bites of orange rind. I prefer to use unsweetened coconut, but you can control the sugar factor here.  Start with the base of oats, cinnamon, honey, and dried fruit.  Then add the ingredients that you like.  I’ve listed several options.  Every time I make granola it goes FAST!  It will store in an airtight container for at least two weeks, although that is hard to imagine.

1 cup honey

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

5 cups rolled oats

1 cup almonds, chopped or slivered

1 cup pecans, chopped

1 cup unsweetened coconut

1 cup dried cherries

1 cup seeds (hulled pumpkin, chia, flax or a combination of the three)

orange or lemon zest (the whole fruit)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Generously butter a large cookie sheet with edges.  In a small mixing bowl stir together the honey, cinnamon, syrup, vanilla, sea salt, and olive oil.

This is one of my favorite combinations, however I like to add dried apricots, raisins, currants, and cranberries.  This is a very flexible recipe.  Look in your pantry and see what you have and it will probably work well.  Start with your base of rolled oats in a large bowl.   Add the almonds, pecans, coconut, cherries, and seeds.  Add the zest. Pour the honey mixture over the top and stir enough to coat the ingredients.  Spread evenly on the cookie sheet.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Stir every 10 minutes or so for even cooking.  When granola is toasted evenly, remove from oven and cool.  Store in an airtight container.


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