It’s a few days after Christmas and you have leftover gingerbread cookies. What do you do?
What’s that? Leftovers are unheard of you say? I think if you had gone on a cookie-baking rampage prior to Christmas it’s not an impossible scenario.
I always find that even when I give away majority of a big batch of homemade cookies I am still left with quite a fair amount to savour bit by bit for a whole week. It’s why I love making cookies so much—a recipe yields so many! In my personal list of the greatest food creations that exist on the planet, cookies are definitely in the top 10, but now something else has wiggled its way in there: HOMEMADE granola.
Just imagine putting the two together and eating it for breakfast. Wouldn’t your day be a happy one?
Obviously there is nothing new about granola. Sometimes when I read the labels on granola bars I cringe at how much sugar it contains; how much glucose and stuff like that. Most of them are usually too sweet for my liking. I’ve had my fair share of granola whether in bar or cluster form but none of them have ever impressed me enough for me to care. That is, until I made my own granola at home.
It was out of sheer curiosity that I did it. I wondered how easy it really was to make at home something the supermarkets sell at such a premium price. Every blog post I ever read keeps going on and on about how simple and fuss-free it is, and now this blog post is going to be one of them. I am a convert. I am officially a homemade granola lover!
There are no preservatives or processed sugars in this granola; only hearty ingredients like oats and nuts, plus natural sweeteners in the form of molasses and pure maple syrup. Oh, and there’s a good amount of espresso in here too!
So Christmas is dunzo but I’m sure everybody still kind of feels hung-over. I always feel the worst Christmas hangover the day before New Year’s. But since I’m actually on a vacation right now, I am really feeling the holidays in my bones thanks to this literal holiday I’m taking from regular life. And hey, ain’t nothing bad about latching on to the feel-good Christmas vibes.
This granola is really good for a morning-after Christmas breakfast treat, when you’re still in that bubble of warmth the season brings. The spices and flavourings of this granola remind me of gingerbread (molasses, maple syrup, cinnamon, ground ginger) and the addition of espresso just gives it such a welcome scent and a light coffee flavour. Very breakfast-appropriate indeed. But then you can really take it to the next level by throwing in the gingerbread cookies you might have lying around after the parties are done.
I personally wouldn’t bake any gingerbread cookies just for the purposes of adding them to this recipe because the granola is good on its own, but since I did have a bit of cookies left from my favourite chocolate-gingerbread men recipe I shared previously, I just had to do it!
There’s also very little effort involved in making this; essentially just mixing everything up and throwing in the oven. You do have to allow some time for it to cool and harden though. Just try not to sit beside it and stare at its utter beauty while that’s happening.
I honestly had to stop myself from eating so much of the granola because I kept picking up clusters and popping them in my mouth the moment they came out of the oven. My camera had so much granola fingerprints!
Makes around 6 cups of granola
- 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup shredded unsweetened flaked coconut (optional but good)
- ½ cup pistachios (whole or roughly chopped according to preference)
- ½ cup pecans, almond, or macadamia nuts (whole or roughly chopped according to preference)
- 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup dried cranberries or raisins
- 4 Tablespoon coconut oil or unsalted butter
- ¼ cup molasses
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 3 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 Tablespoons honey, divided use
- Leftover gingerbread cookies
- 1. Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C). Line a baking sheet with relatively high sides with non-stick paper.
- 2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, shredded coconut, nuts, pumpkin seeds, and cranberries/raisins. Toss well.
- 3. Place the butter in a measuring glass and melt in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir in the molasses and maple syrup. Place the mixture back in the microwave for another 30 seconds.
- 4. Sprinkle the espresso powder over top and stir to dissolve. Add the cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Finally, stir in the vanilla until everything is completely combined.
- 5. Pour the warm mixture over the oat mixture and stir to fully combine, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- 6. Spread the granola out on the parchment-lined baking sheet and drizzle with 2 Tablespoons of the honey. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes stirring every 15 minutes so the granola will get evenly toasted. The last time you stir the granola drizzle it with the remaining 2 Tablespoons honey. Remove from the oven and let cool five minutes.
- 7. After 5 minutes, spray the bottom of a flat-bottomed measuring cup or glass with cooking spray. Press the granola into the pan using the cup so that you have a flat slab of granola evenly spread inside the baking sheet. Let the granola sit for one hour to cool and harden, then break up into clusters. If desired, add pieces of leftover gingerbread cookies.
And while I’m sure everyone is now gearing up for new year, I hope you all still give yourselves some time to sit back and relax with a big hearty leisurely breakfast. It’s one of the best things the holiday can offer, in my opinion! 🙂