Gingerbread Granola

It is Christmas crunch time over here! I'm up to my elbows in wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, and scotch tape.  I’m (not so) secretly loving every minute of it.  While I really do wish I had started doing the Christmas thing a bit earlier, I don't mind the last minute rush since I really thrive under pressure.  Speaking of pressure, last night the husband and I hit the mall and got all of our gift shopping done in ONE hour! We were pretty proud of ourselves and thankful that we made it out alive. It is seriously crazy out there. _12127_295

Despite the holiday craziness, I'm so excited to spend Christmas with my family and to have a week off of work. It will be a nice little break that will give me some time to finish up/start some important things like wedding thank you cards, organization, and other fun stuff. I also bought a candy thermometer to experiment with some candy-making over the break, so don't be surprised if you see some caramel recipes soon!

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If you're like me and had your heart set on some delicious DIY gifts but don't have time to break out the candy thermometer or craft some intricate cookies, I've got a great recipe for you.  Two words: gingerbread granola.  I feel like granola often gets overlooked during the holidays.  It's not as flashy as fleur de sel caramels or as a decadent as dark chocolate fudge, but it is definitely just as gift-worthy.  Granola is a breeze to make at home and once you have a basic recipe, the flavors and add-in combination are endless.  For this gift worthy granola, I took my basic granola template and changed a few things (mainly the oil level) and threw in the flavors of my favorite Christmas cookie, gingerbread.  You know I love molasses and spice – add crunchy oats and toasty walnuts into the mix, and this humble little granola really shines.  Whip up a batch to give to friends and family or just to keep around while you're buried under a mountain of wrapping paper and sticky bows.

I hope everyone has a wonderful, relaxing, and safe holiday - I will be back next week, hopefully with some new candy recipes!

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Gingerbread Granola Yields: 3 cups of granola

3 cups certified gluten-free oats

¼ cup canola oil

¼ cup honey (or liquid sweetener of your choice)

2 Tbsp molasses

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

2 Tbsp. cinnamon

1 Tbsp. ginger

1 Tbsp. allspice

¾ cup walnuts

¼ tsp. fine sea salt 1.  Preheat oven to 325F and line a large baking sheet with some parchment paper. 2. In a medium sized bowl combine oil, honey, vanilla extract, and molasses.  Whisk together until incorporated. 3. In a separate, large bowl combine oats, spices, salt and chopped walnuts.  Stir until everything is mixed together. 4.  Add liquid mixture to oats and gently stir to coat. 5.  Gently turn granola out onto your baking sheet and spread into an even layer. 6.  Bake for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, give it a stir to and pop it back in the oven. 7. Bake for another 10-12 minutes.  Keep an eye on it and notice it is starts to smell burnt.   You want to be smell the spices and the toasty oats, but you don’t want to smell burnt oats.  Molasses has a tendency to burn quickly so just be watchful. 8.  Let cool on baking sheet then store in airtight jars.