Gingerbread Granola

So I’ve said it a million times, gingerbread is and always will be a favorite of mine. Holidays aside I love these robust gingersnappy flavors all year round. To me gingerbread is a favorite for numerous reasons. To me it’s not just a flavor combination. It is the memory of rolling cookie dough with my Grandma, and  the taste of my step-moms chewy molasses cookies. My childhood was kissed by spice and absolutely blessed by molasses. Granola is not something you think of when you think gingerbread but this season I’m taking the reigns and preparing foods that are not only festive, but more nutritious as well.

Granola although often it is fairly higher in calories, it is a nutrient dense food that is packed with protein, fiber and if you use the right fruits, even antioxidants. It provides your body with slow burning energy that is ideal for breakfast or snacking. (Who doesn’t need more energy this time of year?) This granola is packed with nuts, seeds and of course dried cranberries and raisins. A walk on the savory side, this really is a treat. I chose not to add brown sugar but instead I stayed with an entirely naturally sweetened granola by using molasses. Molasses and spices bring granola from a boring, bland experience to a gourmet delight. Kissed with aromatic spices, blessed with just a touch of salt. This granola is great with homemade yogurt or raw milk, it is also a wicked delightful snack by the hand full. Give it as a thoughtful healthy gift, or keep it all to yourself! ( I wouldn’t blame you)

Gingerbread Granola

This is naturally sweetened with honey and molasses. Packed with antioxidant rich cranberries, as well as fiber, protein and healthy fats. It has a somewhat  rich molasses flavor and it is not overly sweet. If you would prefer a sweeter granola add 3-4 tablespoons of dark brown sugar before baking, or toss the sugar into the jars before packaging.

Makes (About) 8 Cups
 
Dry Ingredients
  • 3 1/3 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seed kernels
  • 1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seed kernels)
  • 1 cup almonds, slivered or sliced
  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon + ground ginger
Wet Mixture-
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil or butter (melted)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
Mix In-
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Preheat Oven to 300 degrees.

Lightly spray one or two large baking sheets. (I always use one because I hate to wash a second one, using two might lead to more even cooking)

In a very large bowl prepare the wet mixture. If using coconut oil you will have to warm it to liquify it. Whisk to combine until smooth and consistent in color and texture. In a separate bowl combine all of the dry ingredients and toss to combine. Toss the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Stir to combine.  Evenly spread among baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, stir the granola. Bake additional 15-20 minutes. It should take no longer than 35 or 40 minutes. Since this recipe has molasses it is a little bit trickier to tell when it is finished. It will look bronzed and crisp-er than when it went in.

Once it is finished baking mix in the dried fruit mix-ins. Package as desired. Will store in air tight containers at room temperature 3-4 weeks.

 
Granola Making Tips

Granola is very easy to prepare. Once you learn a few tips its as simple as tossing a few things into a bowl and making sure there is just enough stickiness to keep it together. Whatever nuts, seeds or flavors you love you can add to the mix.

-When making granola with coconut, add the coconut only during the last 15 minutes.

-Do not add the fruit until the granola mixture is finished in the oven. It will just burn if you cook it.

– THE BEST TIP OF ALL – Your granola will not come out of the oven crispy. It’s not like toasting nuts or drying things. It will still feel limp and soft. I made granola multiple times expecting it to crisp up and be toasty out of the oven. This is not the case. It will crisp as it cools. Do not feel tempted to stray too far from the times given.

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