So Christmas is in one week. ONE WEEK. Did that just blow your mind, or am I the only one? I really feel like it's like, September. What on earth? Anyway.
Let's pretend that you are in need of a last minute gift. Which I'm sure you're not, because you're way more prepared than I am. Or let's pretend that you need an activity to do with your kiddos because it's freezing outside and if you have to answer one more question about elves or reindeer or what a virgin has to do with Jesus your head will explode into a million tiny pieces. Ahem.
I have a solution that will solve both these scenarios. Two birds with one stone and such.
You make granola.
You make granola, and everyone is occupied for at least 30 minutes, and your house smells lovely, and you're rewarded with a yummy snack that you may or may not eat by yourself in your closet while your kids watch Caillou's Christmas.
Here's how it's going to go down:
Recipe adapted from Cookiesandcups.com
*1/2 cup butter (one stick) melted
*1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp brown sugar (weird, I know, but follow directions!)
*1/2 cup honey
*4 cups corn flakes, crushed (also weird. Go with it.)
*5 cups old fashioned oats
*1 cup raisins
*2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
*1 cup nuts (I like almonds)
*1 tsp salt (don't be stingy here. Salt = taste bud happiness)
*1 beaten egg white
1. Preheat your oven to 300. Melt the butter in the microwave in a small bowl and then add the brown sugar and honey. It will look a little funny, like it's not all mixed. But that's okay.
Hint: spray your honey measuring cup with non-stick spray before you measure, and all the honey will come out easily.
Another hint: this local honey is THE BEST HONEY IN ALL OF THE LAND AMEN. You can get it at Hentze Farm out in Junction City. But Hentze closes on Christmas Eve, and doesn't reopen until June 1. So hurry! Get thee to Hentze! Important: don't throw away the butter wrapper. Trust me on this. Also: Don't put that bowl in the dirty pile - you can reuse it to beat the egg white.
2. Fill a big Ziploc baggie not quite half full with corn flakes. That usually equals out to be four cups-ish when they're all crunched up.
Squish as much air out of the bag as you can, and enlist your children to beat the tar out of the bag in order to crush the flakes.
End goal should look like this:
3. In your biggest bowl, dump the corn flakes, oats, raisins, coconut, nuts, and salt. Stir it up
4. Pour the butter mixture into the bowl and stir and stir and stir. It will look like nothing's happening, and you will ask yourself if there is possibly enough liquid to cover all the dry stuff. Don't ask these questions. Just keep stirring. It won't look very different. See?
6. Line a 15x11 baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil, and then dump the contents of the bowl onto the baking sheet.
7. Here comes that butter wrapper! Use it to press the mixture down evenly into the baking sheet. No dirty hands! Gold star for you! Now you can throw it away.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes and do not, under any circumstances, stir it. When it's done, pull it out of the oven and let it sit for at least 6 hours. This helps it to get crunchy and irresistible. Cover it with a towel or something so that you don't have to stare at it's golden goodness all day.
9. Eat it. It will keep in a container for two weeks, no problem. But good luck getting it to last that long. At our house, we eat it with milk (like a bowl of cereal), or dry by the handful, or over yogurt. It also works as a yummy streusel topping for muffins or banana bread or whatever.
The end. You're welcome for the super high quality cell phone pictures.
This is really a great recipe to make with littles. There are lots of chances to measure and dump and stir, which is so fun. Also, baking with littles is a wonderful time to discuss math concepts such as more, less, and equal. Dumping ingredients into the bowl offers great counting practice, and kitchen time is always helpful for new vocabulary words. I like to go over the recipe one last time before we put it in the oven and ask my little if we added everything - "Did we put in the oats? The salt? The honey? The elephant?" He thinks it's hilarious every time, and I'm reassured that my preschooler still thinks I'm funny. Whew.
Now if you want to (reluctantly) give some granola away as a gift, here's a pretty way to do it: Go to St. Vincent de Paul and buy a mason jar. They're 49 cents. Once I was at the Seneca location and the guy tried to charge me 99 cents. That did not go over well. Bonus points if you find a wide mouth jar. You'll have to buy new bands and lids, which you can get at Bi-Mart or Freddy's or pretty much anywhere. Put the granola inside the jar (after you wash it for pity's sake, ewww) and if you're fancy, put a bow on it. Voila! A gift that anyone with a mouth will be thankful for.
Please let me know if you try this!
Time Frame: hands on work time - 30 minutes-ish. Bake time - 20-25 minutes. Rest time - 6 hours.
Where: your kitchen! But you should probably buy the ingredients at the store. Public service announcement: all the dry stuff is cheapest in the bulk section of Winco!
Mess Factor: the stirring can get a little out of control, so help your littles to stir slowly. Also, eating it is super messy, so I suggest sending your little outside when it's time to eat, unless you want your floor to look like this:
Oh gosh, it's so cold, I'm kidding about sending them outside. Sort of.
Megan Defferding is the mom to two super fun boys who love to find great stuff to do all around Lane County! Check out her blog series, Happy Adventuring, every Wednesday on GoMomGo.