Homemade Christmas Gift: Organic Granola

Homemade Vegan Granola

How is everyone handling the Christmas hustle and bustle?  Did you wish for a white Christmas, because you will have it! It’s been snowing relentlessly in Montreal. Everything is covered in a white blanket. The last couple of weeks have been a little nuts for me, trying to wrap up work so I can take time off. It feels so great to have all this time to spend with family and friends now. I have spent the last few days wrapping up last minute gifts and details for our Christmas dinner.  Today I spent the afternoon making homemade granola as gifts for our family.  Tomorrow, I will also be making homemade vegan chocolate snowballs (keep an eye out for that post) and cookies with Sonny to leave for Santa.  I love the idea of giving homemade gifts, as I find they are so well received.  I wish I wasn’t so late in starting, I would have loved to make more!  I’ve been seeing so many amazing DIY Christmas gifts on here!

So, if you are still looking for simple last minute homemade gift ideas, I highly recommend this granola.  Not only is it super delicious, it is healthy, vegan, and looks oh so cute in a bell jar.  Oh, and it clumps into nice and crispy big clusters, which is a must for me when it comes to granola!

Homemade Organic Granola

Adapted from Oh She Glows

Makes approx. 6 cups

If possible, buy organic ingredients.

Ingredients:

Dry:

  • 2 1/2 cups extra thick rolled oats
  • 1 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Wet:

  • 4 tablespoons brown rice syrup
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons raw peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

Extras:

  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • handful of pepita seeds

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 300°F. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the wet ingredients. Stir well. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • In a very large mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Add the wet mixture while warm over the dry mixture and stir well.  Stir everything until well combined.  It is thick and a little difficult, but keep stirring to combine all ingredients.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Spread granola onto the lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.  Stir the granola every 15 minutes to ensure even baking.

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  • Allow to cool for 15 minutes.  As the granola cools, it will stiffen up.  Break it apart into large chunks then place into a large bowl and stir in the raisins, cranberries, and pepita seeds.

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  • Place in a jar, add ribbon and a label, and voila, you have yourself a super cute, delicious tasting, healthy granola Christmas gift!

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  • If you have leftovers, you can keep it in the fridge for up to a month in an airtight container.

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Have a very Merry Christmas, everyone!  Enjoy the time you have with your family and friends and try to squeeze in some rest and relaxation.

Sophia xo

Vegan Sugar-Free Hazelnut Spread

“Give your child a touch of joy at the breakfast table”.  This was Nutella’s catch phrase.
“Made with 56 roasted hazelnuts”.  Not to mention, enough sugar in one serving to get your child wired in seconds!

I never understood who was actually being fooled by these commercials, convinced that they are feeding their families a nutritional breakfast when slabbing this sugar spread onto a piece of white bread.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my share of Nutella in the past, but their whole healthy breakfast pitch is ridiculous.  I read a ‘fun fact’ on their website today, that 30,000,000,000g of Nutella was sold in Canada over the last decade.  If you lined up the jars end to end, that would almost stretch from coast to coast in Canada.  Crazy!

I also did the math, one serving (one tablespoon) of Nutella, contains 11 grams of sugar.  That translates to THREE teaspoons of sugar in one tablespoon of Nutella!  I wish labeling was clearer, not many people take (or have) the time to figure this out…

Anyway, on to my very satisfying, much healthier, sugar-free version.  I can’t stop licking the spoon.

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Vegan Sugar-Free Hazelnut Recipe

Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic hazelnuts, roasted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons organic cacao powder
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (I used homemade)
  • 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil
  • a pinch of sea salt

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Lay out hazelnuts onto a baking sheet and pop in the over for ten minutes.  Watch them carefully, oven temperatures vary and these can go from perfectly fine to burnt quickly.

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  • Remove hazelnuts from oven.  Using your fingers or a paper towel, remove skins from hazelnuts.  They will come off easily.  It doesn’t need to be perfect.

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  • Place hazelnuts in a food processor.  Process at high speed for 2-3 minutes until you have a paste.

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  • Add coconut oil and process for another minute, until it looks smooth.
  • Add all remaining ingredients, process for another 2-3 minutes until you have a creamy texture.

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  • At this point it will be quite thin and liquidy.  Place into a jar (I use mason jars) and refrigerate for one hour hour.

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  • Remove from fridge.  It is now a spreadable texture.

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  • You will store this in the fridge, and it keeps fresh for about 2 weeks.  Bring it to room temperature to soften when you want to spread it, as it will harden slightly in the fridge.  I also suggest making it in small batches so it stays fresh.
  • Spread onto your favourite baked goods, fresh fruit (like apple slices) or on sprouted grain bread.

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  • Be wary of small hands snatching hazelnuts from photoshoot.

Vegan Sugar-Free Hazelnut Spread