Eat It by the Handful – Orange Cranberry Granola

Granola is a big deal in my house.

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Whenever granola gets made, granola gets eaten at alarming rates, usually just in handfuls while standing in the kitchen when deciding what else to eat.

I started musing out loud about different kinds of granola to make, and Dan only made the specification of “no chocolate,” so the granola world was my oyster. What says summertime? What says sweet and tart and midday snacks?

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Orange and cranberry? I think so, too!

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This one starts out fairly similarly to my Orange Chocolate Granola, heaping together all kinds of oats, nuts, and orange zest, plus the addition of fresh-squeezed-orange-juice-soaked dried cranberries.

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Hot damn.

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Doesn’t that look like something delicious you’d find professionally available for sale in a Whole Foods bulk bin? Is that weird that that’s my basis for pride?

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Resist the urge to shove your face into the hot melted butter-sugar-honey goodness. It’ll be delicious, but extremely burn-y.

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Bake it up and feel proud of yourself.

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Orange Cranberry Granola

Ingredients:
4 cups oats
1 cup whole raw almonds
1 cup sliced raw almonds
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
zest from 2 large oranges (approx. 2 tbsp.)

juice from 1 large orange
1/2 cup dried cranberries

2 1/2 tbsp. butter
scant 1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Zest both oranges, and set zest aside. Juice one orange (and save the other orange in the refrigerator for a refreshingly cold summer snack later after you come in from the garden). Place the dried cranberries in a small bowl with the orange juice (so that the berries are completely covered with delicious juice), and allow the cranberries to soak for 20-30 minutes while you combine the other ingredients.

Put all ingredients from oats to orange zest in a large bowl. Drain the cranberries and add to the bowl. Mix thoroughly and make sure that everything is well-distributed.

Heat the butter, vegetable oil, honey, and brown sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Allow mixture to briefly come to a boil and then remove from heat. We want to make sure that everything’s slightly caramel-y so that our granola isn’t too soft from the orange oil. Add the vanilla extract after you’re done with the heat and mix well.

Pour the butter and sugar mixture over the oats and mix well with a rubber spatula, making sure to get everything completely covered with sugar.

Spread the mixture evenly in a thin layer over both cookie sheets. Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring twice during baking time to prevent scorching.

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Allow granola to cool completely on the cookie sheets and then break apart. Put in an airtight container with a lid that allows for easy snacking during your kitchen indecisiveness time. It’s awesome.

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Soaking the cranberries not only prevents them from scorching in the oven, but also gives it that super orange zesty kick every time you come upon one of those delicious tarty morsels. It’s like eating an orange cranberry muffin, but super toasty and crunchy. I had some for breakfast this morning with some vanilla yogurt, and I think that if you do the same, you’ll be a happy, satisfied person for at least 20 minutes, I promise you. Possibly for the entire morning. And then the whole rest of the day. It’s highly likely.

Smells Like the Holidays – Orange Chocolate Granola

Sometimes trying new things ends in disaster.

For instance, yesterday, I attempted to eat a grapefruit. I have never liked grapefruit, but I had really high hopes for this homegrown pink beauty that was given to us with nothing but friendship in mind. Needless to say, it didn’t end well.

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However, sometimes you take a chance on something, and things go so much better than expected.

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Last year, I tried my hand at homemade candies of various types, with mostly positive results (and moderately singed fingers), but I figured this year we’d go a little healthier. And a little safer on the digits.  Granola it is!

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Two different granola recipes from Joy the Baker were the major inspiration for this recipe, but the combination of chocolate and orange is what really screams “holidays” for me.

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Photos for this post provided by Dan, of course, as you can tell by my oh-so-glamorous-and-attractive face here. Seriously, why don’t I have my own cooking show already?

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The orange kick in this granola is provided by copious amounts of orange zest, which will make your kitchen and house smell just as festive as your party favors.

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Hell yes. How can you go wrong with almonds, walnuts, coconut, cocoa powder, and orange zest? You just can’t.

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And then we add honey and butter? Oh my.

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Almost forgot the brown sugar.

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Mix. Mix. Mix.

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Spread. Spread. Spread.

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Resist the urge to eat the pre-baked granola while it’s sitting there being so fragrant and delicious.

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Bake. Bake. Bake. And then stir. Stir.

You only stir twice. Combo breaker!

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Fill up those goodie bags! And then top with a heaping spoonful of mini chocolate chips to make the whole thing even more festive.

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Yum.

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This recipe makes two pans full of toasty granola, which was enough for 11 people to get a healthy breakfast-sized portion.

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Spoon it up on top of some yogurt or ice cream or just eat it by the handful like those of us with no willpower do. Enjoy that chocolate and orange and make the holidays last just a bit longer into the new year!

Orange Chocolate Granola
inspired by Joy the Baker‘s Toasted Almond Granola and Cocoa Almond Granola

Ingredients:
4 cups oats
1 cup whole raw almonds
1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt
zest from 2 large oranges (approx. 2 tbsp.)
2 1/2 tbsp. butter
scant 1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
mini chocolate chips, for topping

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Mix together all ingredients from oats to orange zest in a large bowl. Make sure that everything is as equally coated with cinnamon and cocoa powder as you can get it and that the zest is well-distributed.

Heat the butter, vegetable oil, honey, and brown sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Allow mixture to briefly come to a boil and then remove from heat. We want to make sure that everything’s slightly caramel-y so that our granola isn’t too soft from the orange oil. Add the vanilla extract after you’re done with the heat and mix well.

Pour the butter and sugar mixture over the oats and mix well with a rubber spatula, making sure to get all the good bits completely covered with sugar. This might take a while. Be patient.

Spread the mixture evenly in a thin layer over both cookie sheets. Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring twice during baking time to prevent scorching.

Allow granola to cool completely on the cookie sheets and then break apart. Add chocolate chips here as you transfer your granola to a large airtight container or into individual goodie bags. The more the better.

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A super special holiday thanks to all my readers who voted for me in Movita‘s gingerbread throwdown! I felt your love from across the interwebs, and I’m so grateful for all of you! You guys are awesome!

I hope that everyone had a very lovely holiday season, and I wish everyone a very happy new year!