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Dharma Kitchen

writer-editor-cook-baker

Ultimate Spiced Holiday Granola

Carrie H

With Christmas less than a week away, we are cooking, baking and assembling food items nonstop over here in the Dharma Kitchen. In the past couple of years, I've tweaked this spiced holiday granola to balance those quintessential flavor combos of ginger, cranberries and orange. It isn't terribly sweet and makes for a great gift. Luckily, granola requires little in the investment of time (more in the investment of money, depending on how crazy you get with ingredients), keeps for ages and is very giftable. Don't be put off by what looks like a long list of ingredients. You're dumping most of them into one large bowl, so it's just a matter of a few minutes of assembly.

Cranberries, white chocolate, and finely chopped crystalized ginger for Ultimate Spiced Holiday Granola.

Cranberries, white chocolate, and finely chopped crystalized ginger for Ultimate Spiced Holiday Granola.

Think of this as a bit of a template. You can do a version of this with some of the same ingredients (oats, all seeds, and almonds), but hold the spices, and turn it tropical by swapping out dark chocolate chips instead of white, chopped dried pineapple instead of ginger and bit of shredded coconut, maybe 1/2 a cup or so of each. Or take it in another direction entirely, with dates and apricots and a touch of cardamom. The possibilities are limitless. 

Side note: If you like chunkier, more bark-like granola, add an egg white to the mix. 

Ingredients

  • 1  1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate
  • 2/3 cup crystallized ginger, finely diced
  • 4 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • Zest of one orange
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 C almonds, very roughly chopped (just enough for texture)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 2 T. chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup or honey

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 320° F and line a few rimmed baking sheets with parchment.

Combine dried cranberries, white chocolate and ginger in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Combine oats, zest, cinnamon, cloves, salt, almonds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds and meal, plus the chia seeds, in a very large bowl. Combine the maple syrup, oil and brown rice syrup in a glass measuring cup and stir to combine; it won't come together totally, but when you melt the coconut oil, the residual heat should help it all bind a bit. Pour the liquids into the very large bowl with the oat mixture. 

Now, here's where things can get messy. You can attempt to stir this together with a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon. I find it much more effective, albeit messy, to get in there with oiled hands and stir it all together. It just seems to distribute everything a bit more evenly. There's really no avoiding getting some of it on your hands. But oiling/greasing up your hands minimizes the mess.

Distribute the granola on the rimmed baking sheets, using the back of a spoon to spread it out evenly. Bake for about 15 minutes in the preheated oven, and then rotate the trays. Bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until it starts to look a little golden.  Pay attention to how this smells; you don't want it to burn. All you're really doing is drying out the mix a bit and toasting the nuts. Allow it to cool, and transfer everything back into that large bowl (which you've already cleaned) and add the cranberries, white chocolate chips and ginger, stirring to combine.  

Yield: About 10 cups

Do you make granola regularly? What do you put it in it? 

Ultimate spiced holiday granola. Some for me, some for you...

Ultimate spiced holiday granola. Some for me, some for you...