Most years I try to hold off on getting into a holiday mood until after Thanksgiving… I usually have a very strict “no Christmas music until after Thanksgiving” policy. The Christmas season would start with going shopping with my mom on Black Friday. The house wouldn’t get decorated until later that weekend, or sometimes even the following week.
For some reason, this year I have been ready to get into the Christmas mood a bit early… While we haven’t decorated the house yet (and we won’t until the weekend after Thanksgiving), I confess that I did give in to listening to some Christmas music. I’ve also started playing around with some holiday-inspired flavors in the kitchen.
When it comes to Christmas baking, gingerbread cookies are at the top of my list. I just love the flavor of the dark molasses and the way the warm aroma of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves fills the house while the cookies bake.
Unfortunately, it’s a bit early to get started on the Christmas cookies… I suppose I could freeze some, but I know I would just end up eating them instead. And, let’s be honest… My waistline can’t handle a whole month of eating Christmas cookies. So, on a whim, I decided to take the flavors of gingerbread and bake them into granola. It was a very successful experiment!
I cannot get enough of the granola… It really does taste like a cookie (though, maybe not quite as sweet), but it’s a whole lot more nutritious. And, I can eat it for breakfast without feeling any guilt! I eat it plain by the handful, but it’s also quite good on top of some plain yogurt. I will probably continue to make it all year round to get my gingerbread fix… And, there’s a good chance that some of my friends and family will be receiving some as a Christmas gift this year, too!
Gingerbread Granola with Cranberries and Pumpkin Seeds
Makes about 8 cups
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 4 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup flax seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 300°F.
In a small mixing bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the coconut oil, blackstrap molasses, and maple syrup.
In a separate large mixing bowl, stir together the rolled oats, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, coconut, flax seeds, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and a generous pinch of Kosher salt. Pour the liquid mixture on top and stir until all of the ingredients are equally moistened.
Transfer the mixture to a large roasting pan (or a large jelly roll cake pan will also work). Bake for 55 – 60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Allow the granola to cool in the pan before stirring in the dried cranberries. Store in an airtight container for a few weeks (if it lasts that long).