I got the idea from Martha Stewart to make granola for the grandmothers this Mother’s Day.  This turned out to be a great project because granola is one of those things that just requires a lot of dumping and stirring.  It is a fun cooking project for the kids and you can get a bunch of photos of them making the granola that you can add in the package to grandma.  Add a cute bowl and a nice spoon; and, voila you have a great gift for grandma.

I used the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe for granola and added some cinnamon and nutmeg.  But, really, the cool thing about granola is that it is oats, shredded coconut, honey, vegetable oil, and any nut or dried fruit and any spices that you want or happen to have around the house.  So, you can modify the recipe based on the recipient’s tastes.  The ingredients I used are:  canola oil, oats, almonds, honey, sweetened shredded coconut, dried figs, dried cherries, dried apricots, dried cranberries, cashews, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

This is super easy.  Just preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Then, mix the oats, coconuts, and almonds in a large bowl.  Whisk together the oil and honey in a small bowl.

Pour the honey and oil mixture into the large bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well.  Spread on a baking sheet.

Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even golden brown.  This will take about 20-30 minutes.  Granola cooking is really scent-based.  So, you want to stay by the oven while the granola is cooking.  When it is done or almost done it will smell like toasted nuts.  If you start to smell something burning take the baking sheet out immediately .

Let the oats, almonds, and coconuts cool.  Then put them in a bowl and mix in the dried fruit and cashews.  To complete the present, put granola in a nice jar, add a bowl and spoon, and a pretty napkin.  You can also include pictures of the children making the granola or use the pictures to make a Mother’s Day card.  Feel free play around with the recipe.  Dried mango, dried papaya, or dried apples would be nice.  You can also add some other spices like ground ginger, ground cardamom, allspice.  What mother or grandmother wouldn’t want a nice bowl of homemade granola for breakfast?


Homemade Granola

Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.  Feel free to experiment with different types of nuts, seeds and dried fruit.  You can also play with the spices.  A bit of ground cardamom, ground ginger, ground allspice, or ground clove would be nice in this recipe as well.

Ingredients

4 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats

2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut

2 cups chopped almonds

3/4 cups canola oil

1/2 cup honey

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of nutmeg

1 1/2 cups small-diced dried apricots

1 cup small-diced dried figs

1 cup dried cherries

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, toss the oats, coconut, and almonds together.  In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and honey.  Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated.  Pour onto a 13 X 18 inch baking sheet and sprinkle the cinnamon and nutmeg on top.  Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.  Stay by the oven so you can smell the granola cooking.  If you smell the granola burning take it out of the oven immediately.

2.  Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally.  Add the apricots, figs, cherries, cranberries, and cashews.  Store the cooled granola in an airtight container.

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