I abandoned you guys on Wednesday.
I’m sorry about that. Really, I truly am, but I needed a night off; you understand. In fact, based on attendance in the blog world, I’m thinking a lot of you need nights off too. Maybe we should consider a collective holiday break.
Since I bailed on Wednesday, I wanted to make it up to you though. So I come bearing gifts, not of the physical kind, but more of the metaphorical kind. I give you…drum roll please…my recipe for Orange Cranberry Granola.
While my gift does involve some labor on your part, it won’t take much time and the end result is more than worth the effort. I know you’d probably prefer I just make it myself and ship it off to you, and while that’s a great idea, it’s not going to happen. At least not this month, although there will be another granola giveaway sometime in the future…the very, very distant future.
I actually perfected this recipe mid-Summer and then deliberately decided not to share. I know I’m cruel, but there’s a reason for it. Of course there is; you know me, always ready with an argument. Man, you’d think I was raised by lawyers or something (cough, cough). I held back on publishing this lovely little number because this granola screams holidays to me; provided granola could scream, obviously. The combination of orange and nutmeg could easily be one of Ebenezer Scrooge’s ghosts of Christmas past. In fact, I’d welcome this fruity scented ghost with open arms and a spoon.
Let’s talk citrus. Not surprising given my love of fruit, but I’m a huge fan, and I like it to pack a punch. The citrus, in my opinion, should never be a bit player. In fact, it should always be the star of the show. Don’t pass me a watered down lemon square because we’re going to have issues. My goal when I bite into something made with any kind of citrus is I want the flavor to be strong enough to up and smack you in the face. Sorta like how Red Bull gives you wings. This granola will slap you upside your head.
Fine, fine, fine; it won’t actually hit you, but you’ll know without a doubt that an orange has been involved in the making of this delicious concoction. You’ll love it too. In fact, I’d go so far as to say your friends, family and coworkers will love it because this would make a fabulous holiday gift.
I planning on making a quantum leap size physics batch this weekend (I’m pretty sure this makes no sense) and gifting it to everyone I know. Well except you, but we’ve already established that. Besides, I’m given you the actual tools so you can make it yourself, which is way better. Right…..um, I love you.
Orange Cranberry Granola (Makes approximately 6 Cups)
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups chopped unsalted nuts (I use a combination of walnuts, almonds and pecans).
- 1/2 cup shredded and unsweetened coconut
- 3 Tablespoons wheat germ or flax powder
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 Tablespoon orange extract
- 1 orange: the juice of and the zest from (approximately 1 to 2 Tablespoons of zest, depending on the size of the orange) Obviously the zestier, the bestier (Go with it).
- 1/3 cup olive or canola oil (I tested this using orange juice in place of the oil, and it wasn’t pretty; learn from my mistakes).
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup (put away the Aunt Jemima; ain’t no maple in that).
- 1 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine the oats, nuts, coconut, wheat germ or flax powder, and nutmeg in a medium-sized bowl. Mix in your orange extract, orange zest and the juice from your orange.
- Add in your oil of choice. Stir to combine and evenly coat the dry mixture. Then, add in your maple syrup. Stir to evenly coat mixture. It’s important you add the oil and syrup separately. I’ve done it together, and it takes away from the texture.
- Once combined, spoon mixture onto a baking sheet. Leave clumped together. Do not spread out on the baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through. *Note: If you like your granola on the crunchier side, you can cook it longer. Also, if you like big clusters, don’t stir it as often.
- Remove from oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight, if you happen to have cats and therefore let it cool on a shelf in the dining room, where you promptly forget about it. What? It happens.
- Add your cranberries. Enjoy plain, with milk as cereal or with yogurt and fresh fruit.
Are you making any holiday gifts this year? If so, what? Are you a fan of citrus in baking? Do you like the flavor to smack you upside the head, or should it be a bit player?