I’m 100% a nostalgia person. I adore ceremony and tradition. I guard them closely and love them deeply, especially at Christmas. I love egg nog, peppermint, and chocolate just as much as the next person, but the flavors that most evoke the Christmas spirit in me are molasses, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cranberry. Something about those deep and warming flavors are so homey to me.
They make my house smell like the Christmases I remember as a little girl, when my mom and I would bake up enough treats to share with our family, friends, and church. I especially remember getting to roll chocolate and molasses crinkle cookies in sugar, placing them gently on a baking sheet with my little fingers, and constantly peering into the oven to watch the magic of them puffing up and settling back down. I still remember the innocent joy I felt when my mom gave me the first cookie of the batch and the pride inside when she let my little hands hold the plate of baked goods and say “Merry Christmas” to the person we were giving them to.
This granola wasn’t something we made when I was younger, but it definitely has the power to comfort me. In these long and hectic days leading up to Christmas, being able to start my days with a breakfast reminiscent of my childhood Christmases is something I am so thankful for. My hands aren’t so little anymore, but I’m looking forward to using them to make up another batch of this granola, put it into mason jars, and give it to friends with a loving and genuine “Merry Christmas” I can only hope will bring them love and the comforting feeling of being home for the holidays.
Home for the Holidays Granola
an “Apple a Day” original
4 c. old-fashioned oats
1/4 c. flax and/or chia seeds
1 c. chopped pecans
1 TBSP ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly-grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. orange marmalade
1 c. dried cranberries
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and place a rack in the center position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper lightly sprayed or brushed with oil.
2. In a large bowl, stir together oats, flax and/or chia seeds, pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.
3. In a small bowl or microwaveable measuring cup, combine olive oil, honey, and orange marmalade. Microwave to melt marmalade, about 1 1/2 minutes.
4. Pour marmalade mixture onto oats and stir to combine thoroughly. Spread mixture onto baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes, then remove from oven and toss. Place back in the oven and bake 15 minutes more.
5. Remove granola from the oven and stir in cranberries. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Keeps up to 1 week.