Handmade Food Gift Ideas: Nutty Granola

Eating granola is a time-honored element of the hippie stereotype, but I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t like a fresh, homemade bowl of the crunchy stuff. That’s why I put a recipe for granola in my cookbook, and why I suggest it as a good holiday gift.


Around the holidays, granola provides people with a sweet treat that’s a healthy alternative to the cookies and fruitcakes that are also making the rounds, especially when it’s paired with organic yogurt or milk and fresh fruit. Granola makes a handy gift for hosts in need of a quick breakfast for out-of-town guests, and it can last in the fridge for a month.

Rolled oats, dried fruit, and nuts
Rolled oats, dried fruit, and nuts
Raw cacao nibs
Raw cacao nibs

There are lots of recipes out there for granola, but the basic idea is a combination of rolled oats, nuts, and dried fruit baked with spices, a sweetener, and a fat like oil or butter. My recipe is one that was developed for a private client who was on a low-carb diet. I wanted him to feel full without the carbs, so I loaded up the granola with lots of nuts and some cacao nibs for an extra rich kick of anti-oxidants. You can adjust the recipe as you like, substituting more oats for some of the nuts, or vice versa, and you can use another liquid sweetener like honey or brown rice syrup. To my palate, the dash of salt is important – without it the granola tastes flat.


I give granola as a gift throughout the year, and my preferred packaging is a recycled paper coffee bag. This year, I found 100% compostable coffee bags at Whole Foods, but you can find them at lots of online outlets by doing a search for “100% compostable coffee bags.” A mason jar is a good choice too, but if you’re sending the granola in the mail the coffee bags are obviously much lighter and easier to package.


I made some labels for the granola in Adobe Illustrator, but you can handwrite labels too, especially if you’re not making that many portions. With all the nut allergies that seem to be popping up these days, a label on this gift can be a good idea.

Holly berries, a simple, seasonal, compostable decoration
Recipe: Nutty Granola

This recipe is slightly different than the one in my cookbook. I encourage you to adjust the recipe to your taste. Indulge your imagination and stir in ingredients like dried, unsweetened coconut flakes, banana chips, or popped amaranth grain to the granola after it has come out of the oven.

Yield: 8 cups

2 cups raw nuts

2 cups rolled oats

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon allspice

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Dash salt

6 tablespoons maple syrup

5 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 ½ cups dried fruit, such as prunes, apricots, or strawberries, coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons cacao nibs

Preheat the oven to 250 ºF.

Combine the nuts, oats, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the maple syrup, oil, and vanilla. Spread the granola evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Stir the granola well, rotate the pan, and bake for 15 minutes more. At this point, the granola should be almost completely dry.

Stir in the dried fruit and continue baking for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and stir in the cacao nibs. Cool and seal tightly. If sealed tightly, the granola will remain fresh for up to a month in the refrigerator.

5 thoughts on “Handmade Food Gift Ideas: Nutty Granola

  1. I recently became the owner of your book and have made your granola recipe about 5-6 times. It's really good! I don't have cocoa nibs near where I live so I skip those and use honey instead of the maple syrup. It's wonderful on homemade yogurt with a spoonful of homemade jam (mango is my fav).

  2. That sounds great, jerilea. Yes, the cacao nibs are a fun detail, but not essential. Homemade yogurt – yum!

  3. That sounds great, jerilea. Yes, the cacao nibs are a fun detail, but not essential. Homemade yogurt – yum!

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