It’s that time of the year again, where all I want to do is pretend I’m in the Northern Hemisphere and curl up with a mulled wine, watching Love Actually, on repeat. In fact, I’ve already watched it once in the last week (sans wine…that clearly needs to be rectified?!)
It’s also the time of year when I just feel like buying EVERYONE gifts and baking ALL the Christmas-y things. So this year, I’ve decided to combine the two… and voila we have edible gifting!
Of course, this lead me to think wouldn’t it be great if I created a festive gingerbread version of this much loved Maple Pecan Granola (because let’s face it no one needs MORE shortbread, and it’s also way less fiddly then baking actual gingerbread, for lazy me!)?
So say hello to this rather festive ‘Gingerbread Granola’. I’ve dialled up the spice (gingerbread style), added in some rather festive looking chopped figs and tossed in some of my favourite Liefje dark chocolate for good measure… because it’s Christmas after all.
The result is a spice-y, maple-y, super crunchy, more-ish granola clusters that I most certainly feel can be eaten at ANY time of day (I’m talking midnight snacks too – leave some out for Santa while you’re at it!).
Of course, your only job from this point onwards, other than procuring some nice jars and ribbon, is to NOT eat the whole batch before it cools and/or makes it to the jars. You might think this is a simple task, but talk to me when you have the heavenly smell of freshly baked granola wafting through your house. It’s like an irresistible lure … ‘EAT ME…EAT ME’.
If the granola does in fact make it to the jars (**high fives all around**), you will be thankful for a) saving yourself the stomach ache, and b) have sorted out most of your Christmas gifts with minimal effort, in turn saving yourself from the terrifying experience of being rammed by mothers driving toy-filled trolleys and/or the much maligned centre-of-the aisle ‘dawdlers’ (I have places to be people!).
You can thank me later!
Also to keep the process of bulk batching the granola rather easy (whilst avoiding wastage/excess cost), I recommend buying your dry ingredients in bulk, if you can.
Maple Pecan Granola
Makes around 6-7 cups.
3 cups of rolled oats
1 cup of shredded or flaked coconut
1 cup of raw nuts ( I used a combination of walnuts and almonds)
1/2 cup of dried figs, chopped
1/2 cup of raisins or currants
2 medium-large eggs, separated
½ cup maple syrup
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 scant tsp coarse salt
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
25 g of chopped dark chocolate (optional)
Preheat oven to 150 C.
Line an oven tray with baking paper.
In a large bowl mix together dry ingredients (oats, coconut, nuts, salt, spices) – except dried fruit.
Separate egg yolks from whites. Put aside the yolks and whisk the whites until frothy.
Add the maple syrup and olive oil to the dry ingredients and mix to combine, ensuring granola mix is thoroughly coated.
Finally, add the egg whites and mix thoroughly to evenly coat the mixture (the egg white is the most important element for ‘cluster creation’ as it acts like a glue and binds the dry ingredients together when baked).
Bake in the oven for 50-60 mins. At the half-way point, carefully flip granola over in (large) sections, to avoid breaking up all the clusters.
When the granola appears golden and crisp, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on tray (it will harden and become even crispier as it cools!).
Once cool, break up into clusters of desired size and toss through dried fruit and chopped chocolate.
Stores well in an airtight container for around 2-3 weeks (if it lasts that long!)
This festive granola can easily be adapted to suit whatever nuts and dried fruit that you have lying around. The maple syrup can also be replaced with your liquid sweetener of choice, if desired, and if you like a sweeter granola – consider sprinkling a pinch or two of unrefined cane sugar on top before baking.