This recipe started with a festive bag of granola I spotted at—where else?—Trader Joe's. I took a mental note of the key ingredients on the back label, did some concocting at home, and...voilà!
Now I make this one all holiday season long, for two reasons: One, it's pretty perfect for gifting, and two, it makes your home smell utterly magical. Whip up a batch, then cue the childhood memories of baking cookies and constructing gingerbread houses.
Quick note about the brown rice crisps: You can usually find 'em in the natural foods section or cereal aisle at the grocery store. Feel free to sub in crisp rice cereal or toasted rice cereal if you prefer. —Maurine Hainsworth
Heat your oven to 325°F. In a large bowl, combine the oats, brown rice crisps, sliced almonds, pecan pieces, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, and sea salt. Stir well.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the coconut oil, molasses, maple syrup, and brown sugar. Whisk frequently for a few minutes to combine (don't let it get too bubbly!), then remove from heat. Add the vanilla extract and whisk well one more time.
Pour the hot mixture over the dry ingredients and stir well, making sure all the dry ingredients get evenly coated. (This is when the first waft of that magical holiday scent hits, so take a deep breath in while you're at it.)
Arrange your mixture on a baking sheet, spreading it out into an even layer. Bake for 17 to 22 minutes until it's a rich golden brown color, turning the pan around halfway through to ensure even baking. (Tip: If you want chunks, don't stir the granola while it's baking!)
Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Let the granola cool completely before you break it into chunks.