This orange spice granola is flavored with orange zest, cinnamon and spices, and loaded with sweet cranberries and crunchy almonds.
Over the last few years I’ve probably given out more granola holiday gifts than cookies. Lots of people apparently don’t realize how easy it is to make your own granola. As a result, I get quite a few requests from friends and family once they realize I make my own regularly.
I don’t see myself ever running out of granola flavors to share. This particular flavor was actually inspired by a holiday cookie fail. My grandfather has a killer biscotti recipe that involves a few of the key ingredients in this batch. I made an attempt at veganizing it last year. The saddest thing ever, for a food blogger, is when you try to adapt a recipe and it ends up tasting amazing but falls apart in some other way. That’s what happened with my biscotti – literally – it fell to pieces when I tried to slice the loaf up. That was bad enough on it’s own, but to make things worse, those sad looking biscotti pieces I ended up with tasted incredible. So I ended up with a batch of delicious cookie crumbs that I couldn’t blog, couldn’t gift, but certainly couldn’t throw away.
I really wanted to try again this year, but to be honest, I couldn’t see it working. (Does anyone have some secret trick for successfully veganizing biscotti?) Anyway, trying to think outside of the box as to what I could do with grandpa’s flavor combination, the idea of cereal came to mind as I though of last years bag of crumbs. Cereal led me to granola, which totally made sense, and with me being a granola gifter and all, and I ended up with this recipe for orange spice granola.
As much as I love cookies, it seems like people are always looking for alternatives. “Oh, I’ll give out fruit/nuts/coffee this year, because everyone’s got a ton of cookies.” Try granola. I think your recipients will be impressed and appreciative.
Cranberry Orange Spice Granola
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup almond butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. orange zest
- 1/4 cup coconut oil or other vegetable oil
- 3 cups rolled oats optionally gluten free
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp. powdered ginger
- 1 tsp. ground star anise*
- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 300º. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
Place orange juice, brown sugar, maple syrup, almond butter, vanilla extract and orange zest into small saucepan. Whisk together and bring to a simmer. Simmer over low heat, whisking very frequently, until thick and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in oil.
Stir oats, almonds, coconut, spices and salt together in large mixing bowl. Add orange juice mixture and stir until oats are evenly coated.
Spread mixture in 2 even layers on baking sheets. Bake until edges become lightly browned, about 35 minutes.
Transfer baking sheets to cooling racks. Allow to cool completely. Add cranberries and transfer to airtight storage container.
*Grind whole star anise using mortar and pestle or coffee grinder. If you can't find whole star anise, try substituting 1/2 tsp. anise extract. Ground fennel seeds could be used as well, in an equal amount, though the flavor will be slightly different.