One of my very favorite things about the holidays is the little displays of thoughtfulness that seem to be so much more prevalent: people hosting get-togethers, writing and sending holiday cards in the mail, giving away cookies, etc. I think it’s so fun being on both the giving and receiving end of these little gestures. Since so many people travel for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I thought it’d be a sweet and easy idea to feature a few DIY host/hostess gifts in the upcoming weeks. I’m starting with this jar of granola because it’s one of my favorite gifts I’ve ever been given (Hi El!) and I thought it was just too stinkin cute. I like that this good mornin! version isn’t Christmas-y per se, so it could pass for anytime of year. Instead it has a cute morning theme, since presumably you’re staying over at someone’s house and having breakfast with them. But even if you’re not staying over, it’s just a sweet idea since everyone loves a thoughtful and homemade snack.
Adapted slightly from Alton Brown
Yields about 6 cups
3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup slivered almonds*
1 cup cashews*
¾ cup sweetened coconut
1 tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp salt
¼ cup plus 2 T dark brown sugar
¼ cup plus 2 T real maple syrup
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup chocolate chips (I love the mini ones, but all I had on hand were the regular size)
½ cup chia seeds (I used dark chocolate covered ones!)
1 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
*I didn't use nuts in my photographed version, but normally I would
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
In a big bowl, combine oats, nuts, coconut, cinnamon, and salt, and stir together. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together brown sugar, maple syrup, and oil. Pour over oats mixture, and fold/stir with hands until evenly coated. Pour mixture onto two sheet pans, and use hands to spread it out into one uniform layer.
Bake in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring mixture every 15 minutes or so to ensure even cooking and browning. Remove from oven and let cool in a large bowl. When completely cooled, add in chocolate chips, chia seeds, and dried cherries.
Package in mason jars and secure with tops.
To make the tags, stamp "good mornin!" onto each card, not worrying about being too perfect (I think the imperfect edges and slightly crooked letters look really cute here). When you're done stamping, get rid of leftover ink by stamping on a scrap paper until clear. Cut twine into 1 foot long strands (or a bit longer if you want more room to work with), and thread through the hole of the card. String it around the lip of the jar, and tie tightly with a bow. Then give it away to your gracious host or hostess, or anyone that you love! It's great just eaten by the handful with hot tea or coffee, or as cereal with milk, or on top of good Greek yogurt.