It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… in my kitchen. It smells a lot like Christmas too. I just made homemade granola with nutmeg, cinnamon and cranberries. I found some adorable little gift bags at Target in the dollar section. They have a clear plastic front so friends can see the granola – as if the oats were pressing against the window to say, “Happy Holidays! Let me out of here!”
Since I’m giving granola to friends, I thought it would be nice to give some to you, my reader-friend. Your holiday granola comes in the form of advice. Like the old saying goes, “Give a guy granola and he’ll eat for a day. Give a guy granola advice and he’ll eat for a lifetime.”
I’ve been making granola for several years, but it’s only been in the last few that I’ve consistently made the kind of granola that I enjoy the most. To me, the best granola has distinct clusters – little nuggets of crispy, clumped oats (and other good things) that crunch when you bite them. It makes the best granola for snacking and even better granola for dousing with milk. So…
The Secret To Making Granola With Clusters
And the secret is…
During the holidays, I like to put my regular bread pans in storage and pull out my mini-loaf pans. That way, anytime I make bread I have instant gifts and I’m less inclined to personally over-indulge. And believe me… I am very good at overeating during the holidays. Sometimes, I’ll wake up and see open Tupperware on the kitchen counter. What magic elves have been eating my food? Alas, sometime around 5AM – half-aware and partially dreaming, I stood in the kitchen and finished the Thanksgiving stuffing or drank most of the Christmas eggnog. Holiday food in reasonably-sized, single-serving portions is a good idea for many reasons.
The loaves you see here are Raspberry Grapefruit Mini Breads. They have a vanilla cake base that’s loaded with fresh raspberries and brushed with a grapefruit syrup after baking. Brushing them with a simple syrup helps keep in the moisture so these breads will still be moist and at their best for a couple days after baking.
Almost any quick bread recipe (those not using yeast) can be made into mini-loaves. It’s just a matter of having the right pans and keeping your eye on the cooking time. I used raspberries for these loaves, but you could just as easily use blueberries or chopped strawberries.
The ingredients are pretty basic: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, half and half, grapefruit juice, lemon zest, vanilla, eggs, butter and raspberries.
Don’t you hate people who are hard to buy gifts for? I mean… you probably love them… buy buying them gifts… ugh. Luckily for my friends and family I’m not one of those people. Look at this Breakfast Bounty.
T-Shirts: Bacon Makes It Better, Rice Krispies and Wheaties
Cooking Supplies: The Ronco Donut Maker, A Pro-Grade Beater and Donut “Enter” Oven Mitts And Dish Towels (Donut “Eaters” will notice the rare misprint)
Donut Book: Glazed America
Vintage Cookbooks And Pamphlets: Sophia Loren’s Recipes (1998), The Pancake Cookbook (1963), Late Breakfast Or Brunch (1972) and Cooking With A Surprising Difference (1979).
A bottle of honey actually harvested by one of my cousins. Gotta bee happy about that one.
Thanks everybody for fantastic birthday!