I decided to give my friends homemade granola in jars this year for Christmas. The idea was planted at the end of last school year, when a gift was dropped off at the front desk for me to deliver to someone else. The gift was a mason jar full of granola, with a piece of fabric screwed under the lid.
During my many trips to Goodwill and Value Village since, I've picked up various sizes of mason jars as I came across them. The fabric scraps were graciously given to me by my sister Holly, who made a holiday pennant garland out of the fabric. The tags are from Avery, and I found them at Bartells.
For the granola, I modified this recipe, which I found originally on my friend Lauren's blog. If you like granola at all, I highly recommend making your own--it's super easy (this was my first time), can be modified to suit your tastes (cranberries vs/ cherries, for example), and tastes amazing hot out of the oven (although you might burn your fingers). The only challenging part was stirring every 10 minutes or so while baking to make sure it didn't stick to the pan--I had to be careful not to push it over the sides.
Maple Cranberry Pecan Granola
3 c. rolled old-fashioned oats
1 c. raw pecans, broken in half
3/4 c. chopped walnuts
1/2 c. pumpkin seeds, raw not roasted
1/2 c. unsweetened coconut (found this brand at Whole Foods)
1/4 c. sesame seeds
1/4 c. flax seeds
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. olive oil
3/4 c. real maple syrup
3/4 c. dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 300 F. Mix oats through seeds in a big bowl. Mix salt and spices in a small bowl, then add to big bowl. Add vanilla, olive oil, and syrup, and stir well to coat all the dry ingredients.
Spread onto a rimmed cookie sheet in an even layer. Mine is non-stick, but you could use parchment paper or Silpats if you need to. Bake for 45-50 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes so granola doesn't stick. It will be done when golden brown and well toasted.
Remove from oven and stir in the dried cranberries; let cool completely. Store in a sealed container.
Makes 8-9 cups.