Whole grain, lightly-sweetened Cranberry Almond Granola Jars make a warm and welcome holiday gift!
Have you ever heard these words from a friend around the holiday season? “Oh, you don’t have to get me anything. Really!”
Some friends are just hard to buy for. And many people truly don’t want more “stuff” in their home. (I empathize, though my kids are not like this. They want our home to be filled with All The Things. We compromise.)
A couple of years ago, I decided to make my “don’t-get-me-anything” friends homemade granola during the holiday season. I filled quart jars with a combination of toasted whole grain oats, dried fruits, and healthful nuts and seeds. Then I decorated the jars simply with holiday ribbon and a tag, and gave them out as gifts.
My friends were delighted! And I felt great about giving them something that was healthful, homemade, and waste-free.
This year, I’ve touched-up my granola recipe to be even simpler and more festive than before, and I can’t wait to hand out my jars!
I’m doubly excited to share the recipe with you, so you can make this gift for your friends and neighbors, too. Because here’s a little truth: that friend of yours who “doesn’t need anything” NEEDS a jar of this granola.
What makes this granola recipe so special? Aside from the addictive, chewy-crunchy texture of almonds and dried cranberries, we go easy on the sugar.
In fact, you won’t find sugar in our ingredients list at all. (There is sugar in the dried cranberries, however! Swap in raisins to make this granola 100% free of added sugars.)
Thanks to a modest amount of honey, these toasty, crispy oats still taste sweet and satisfying. But they don’t feel like a rich dessert, the way granola sometimes can. (If you’re seeking a sweeter treat, we’ve added the option of white chocolate chips. But they’re not at all necessary.)
So you can spread the gift or good health AND good taste in a sweetly-decorated, recyclable jar. Hooray!
How to Make It
Cooking and assembling this gift is easy. One recipe fills three quart jars, but you can easily scale it up to make as many granola jars as you have friends (or just make extra for yourself. Because you’ll be sad if you don’t.)
To begin, toss oats and nuts together with melted butter, honey and vanilla. Then spread the mixture evenly onto cookie sheets, and bake in two batches. (You might be tempted to load all the oats onto one pan, but resist! They key to crunchy-crispy granola is giving those oats room to spread out.)
While the granola is still warm, fold in the dried cranberries.
Cool the granola completely before adding the optional white chocolate and transferring to jars.
Enjoy this nourishing treat, and happy holidays to you and yours!
- 5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 cups sliced almonds
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup white chocolate chips (optional)
- 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine oats and almonds.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together honey, melted butter, cinnamon and vanilla.
- Pour liquid mixture over oats and almonds, and toss to coat.
- Spread HALF the mixture on a baking sheet and bake 10 minutes.
- Toss the mixture with a spatula, then bake 6-8 minutes more.
- Transfer the mixture to the large mixing bowl, and repeat steps 5 and 6 with the second half of the oats mixture.
- Add the second half of the oat mixture to the bowl, and fold in cranberries.
- Cool completely, then add white chocolate (if using).
- Package in glass jars and decorate as you like.