One of my all-time favorite Food Network chefs is Ina Garten. Not only are her recipes wonderful and comforting, watching her shows is wonderful and comforting!
A few years ago I made her Homemade Granola and packaged it up as Christmas gifts for my brother’s doctors and nurses; thus the name change to Christmas Granola. It was such a hit it was requested year after year, and gifted year after year. You know you have a winner when people start talking about how much they enjoyed last year’s Christmas gift just about the time you start thinking about what to make this year!
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
2 cups sliced almonds
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup good honey
1 ½ cups small diced dried apricots
1 cup small diced dried figs
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Toss the oats, coconut, and almonds together in a large bowl; set aside.
Whisk together the oil and honey in a small bowl and pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated.
Pour onto a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan. Bake until the mixture turns a nice even golden brown; about 25 minutes – stir occasionally with a spatula.
Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool completely, stirring occasionally. Add the apricots, figs, cranberries, and cashews and mix well.
Store the cooled granola in an airtight container.
Makes 12 cups
COOK’S NOTE: Ina’s recipe calls for baking 45 minutes; this was too long in my oven. Just keep an eye on it, so it is not overcooked and dry.