When on the receiving end of “edible” holiday cheer, I am all for an offering of fine spirits..... a bottle of Bulleit Bourbon will be enthusiastically accepted, thank you very much. When on the giving side of things, I have to say that I tend to go a bit nutty. For a few years now we’ve crafted gift baskets for family and friends that consist of homemade jams, and either a selection of hand-crafted cocktail nuts, or a bag of my nut laden “Vanilla Spice Granola”.
If recipe requests are any indication of a gift’s popularity, then I have to say that over the years the hands-down winner has been the granola. It is great by the handful as a snack, on top of a favorite yoghurt or ice cream, or with fresh fruit and milk for breakfast.
I wish I could make a bag of it for all of you, my Food52 friends, but hey, now that you have the recipe, you'll be able to go off and whip up a batch for yourself. Happy Holidays! —Oui, Chef
Place canola oil, honey and granulated sugar in a small sauce pan and heat over a medium flame until the sugar has melted. Remove from heat, add the vanilla extract and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, nuts and seeds, coconut, salt, and spices, and mix well. Add the cooled canola oil and honey mixture, and stir to coat the dry ingredients. Pour the mix onto a large (I use a 20x12), rimmed, non-stick baking sheet (or a regular sheet with a Silpat 11-5/8-by-16-1/2-Inch Nonstick Silicone Baking Mat ) and spread to an even thickness.
Place the baking sheet into the oven on the center rack and cook for around 40 - 45 minutes until nicely browned, removing the sheet at 15 minute intervals to stir the granola.
Once cooked, remove the sheet tray and place it on a rack to cool. When the granola has completely cooled, break it up into a large bowl, mix in the dried fruits and place in a large air tight container for storage.
Have fun with this recipe by adding different fruits, nuts and spices to your liking.
I am a father of five, who recently completed a two year professional hiatus during which I indulged my long held passion for cooking by moving to France to study the culinary arts and immerse myself in all things French. I earned “Le Grande Diplome” from Le Cordon Bleu, studied also at The Ritz Escoffier and Lenotre cooking schools, and completed the course offerings of the Bordeaux L’Ecole du Vin.
About six months ago started "Oui, Chef", which is a food blog that exists as an extension of my efforts to teach my children a few things about cooking, and how our food choices over time effect not only our own health, but that of our local food communities and our planet at large. By sharing some of our cooking experiences through the blog, I hope to inspire other families to start spending more time together in the kitchen, cooking healthy meals as a family, passing on established familial food traditions, and perhaps starting some new ones.