Hark, Christmas! Our family has a tradition of opening our stockings (each of which is testament to the home crafting trend of a different decade, from hand quilting, through the heyday of felt pompoms, and ending with gold lamé) before breakfast on Christmas morning. This is partly because the gold lamé hook won’t bear the excessive weight for long, but mostly because our stockings are brimming with homemade edibles which will join us at the breakfast table. Jam, chutney, and nut butters; homemade cheese, secret spice blends, and lamb sausage; marshmallows and walnut liqueur have all appeared over the years.
One recurring homemade treat is granola, which is so well loved that my mother and I both make it each year and give it to one another. We do not have a family recipe, preferring to always try something new. This version is my favorite just now – spiced with cardamom and ginger, lightly sweetened with honey, and generously studded with toasted nuts.
This recipe is very adaptable, so feel free to use as many or few types of nuts and seeds as you like. If I want to keep it simple, I’ll limit the recipe cashews, sesame, & ginger, or pecan, pumpkin seed, & dried cherry. Because I am currently following a gluten free regimen, I’ve made certain to source gluten free products when making this recipe for myself. If gluten is a not a concern for you, don’t be put off by the title. You can use your favorite brand of oatmeal, and add wheat germ for extra nutrition.
Of course, when I get to the breakfast table I usually put the granola aside in favor of Great-Grandma’s Christmas pastry. I may yet share that recipe with you, but in the meantime I have a few other gift ideas. Check back soon!
Gluten Free Honey & Nut Granola
makes about 7 cups
3 C Bob’s Red Mill gluten free rolled oats, or other certified gluten free
1 1/2 C mixed raw whole nuts – almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, etc.
1/2 C mixed raw sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds
1 T flaxseed (or wheat germ if if gluten is not a concern)
6 T almond, walnut, or vegetable oil
6 T honey, River Farm’s own
1 t cardamom
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t cinnamon
3/4 t sea salt
freshly ground nutmeg
1/3 C dried apricots, pears, or cherries, finely chopped
2-3 T candied ginger, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350º F, and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Combine the oats, nuts, seeds, and flaxseed in a large bowl. Heat the oil and honey over gentle heat in a small saucepan until warm. Stir in the spices and salt; toss the honey mixture with the nut mixture until combined.
Spread evenly in the sheet pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until the granola is evenly golden brown and richly fragrant. Remove from the oven and give it a final stir, then let it cool completely before mixing in the dried fruit and candied ginger. Store in a very airtight container (remember honey is hygroscopic!) in the fridge for up to several weeks.