With the ultimate food holiday a mere two days away, I am busily preparing my kitchen for what is to come. In between the menu planning and grocery shopping, I made some cranberry nut granola. With the hustle that inevitably occurs during this time of year, I like having a container of granola on hand. I can grab a handful for a quick, healthy snack, sprinkle some on yogurt for a quick breakfast or nibble on some for a guilt-free after dinner snack.
Making your own granola is not difficult, and it’s so worth it. This year, I decided to make the granola into a party favor for my Thanksgiving dinner guests. And after the meal we will be having, a little bit of healthy food will put us right back on track…until the Christmas parties begin.
Spread the oats onto a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes until they become crispy and begin to take on a little color.
Toast the sunflower and pumpkin seeds and allow to cool. They will make a little crackling sound as they cool.
I used roasted and salted Marcona almonds. I really like their buttery taste.
Put the oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and salt into a medium sized bow and toss to combine.
This is the mixture that will bring everything together. Begin with pure maple syrup. None of that Log Cabin stuff.
Add in the brown sugar.
Pour in the unsweetened cranberry juice. Please make sure it’s unsweetened!
Add in the cinnamon.
Put the saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. It doesn’t take long. Tip the pan from one side to the other to be sure there are no clumps of sugar on the bottom. Pour the maple mixture into the oat mixture and toss together.
The liquid will not fully absorb into the oat mixture after it has been tossed together.
Pour onto the baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray.
Spread the mixture out trying to get one even layer. Place into a 325 degree oven for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, remove from the oven. Stir the granola, or scrape with a spatula.
Add the dried cranberries. Toss again to evenly disperse throughout the mixture. Return sheet pan to the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes.
When the granola is done, remove the sheet pan from the oven. It will need to be removed from the sheet pan in order to cool. I lay a strip of foil on my counter and spread the hot granola onto it to cool. The granola will not be crisp until it fully cools. And if you’ve toasted your oats ahead of time, you can be insured of a crispy outcome. Before I started toasting the oats, my results were not always consistent.
Packaging up the granola for Thanksgiving dinner party favors. I tied the packages with a raffia bow accented with two fresh cranberries. Simply stick a wooden skewer through each cranberry. Use a stiff piece of raffia and push one end through the cranberry, tie the raffia onto the bag and place the other cranberry on the other end.
Cranberry Nut Granola
Recipe adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups rolled oats, toasted
1/2 cup chopped roasted and salted almonds
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Spread oats onto ungreased sheet pan and toast for 10 to 12 minutes. Oats should be crisp and beginning to take on a little color. Remove from the sheet pan and allow to cool. Set aside.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Spread the pumpkin and sunflower seeds on a sheet pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly toasted. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.
Reduce oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with non stick cooking spray. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine the maple syrup, brown sugar, cranberry juice, and cinnamon over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved.
In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and salt.
Pour the maple mixture over the oat mixture and toss until combined. Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Stir in the cranberries and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes until the mixture begins to brown. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
- Toasting the oats is not mandatory. However, I have found doing so has resulted in a much more crunchy granola.
- I was able to find unsweetened cranberry juice at Trader Joe’s.
- I used Quaker Old Fashioned Rolled Oats.
- I like a lot of nuts in my granola, so I used heaping measurements for each. I also used roasted and salted Marcona almonds.
- While Craisins are the more commercially available dried cranberry, I recommend that dried cranberries from Trader Joe’s. They are truly a dried cranberry without added sugar.