You’ve probably never bought a box of Cheerios, wrapped it, and given it as a gift. Store-bought cereal just isn’t gift material, if you want to keep your friends. Homemade granola, on the other hand, is right up there with cookies and coffee cakes on the gift-ability scale. A simple jar filled with golden, nutty granola is attractive, delicious, and a welcome change from the usual sweet treats that get passed around this time of year.
My granola recipes all follow the same straightforward method, but they each have a different texture. A crunch lover might prefer the Maple Walnut Granola with Dates, where big clusters of tasty oats and nuts can be eaten easily out of hand. This style of granola stays crisp in milk, too. For a looser texture that’s easier to sprinkle over yogurt or ice cream, try the Crispy Sweet Pecan Granola. The Honey Almond Granola crosses both worlds—it’s a little nuggety, a little loose. All three granolas will be somewhat soft right out of the oven, but they’ll become firmer as they cool on the rack. Don’t be tempted to bake them until fully crisp, or they’ll taste burnt and their texture will be too hard.
I like to package my gift granolas in jars and then adorn them with ribbon or perhaps a fabric scrap. If you’re inspired, cover an empty cereal box with decorative paper and slip a zip-top bag of granola inside. You can even put a prize in the bag, although the granola is prize enough.