Cherry Berry Vanilla Almond Granola

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You can customize this granola according to your preferences by adding in any sort of dried fruit or using different nuts in the recipe. I stumbled upon this gluten free recipe by Michelle Palin ~ My Gluten-free Kitchen and it soon became my favorite.
I recently made 12 batches of it to include in Valentines Day Care Packages sent to our graduated NCL Ticktockers that are away at college.  Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups gluten-free oats (rolled or old-fashioned, NOT instant)
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup unrefined coconut oil (or melted unsalted butter or oil of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut – optional (I like wide sliced coconut from Sprouts)
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit – optional (I like Dried Berry Medley from Trader Joe’s)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 300°.
  2. Line a jelly roll pan (about 10.5″x15.5″) with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick cooking spray.DFTSI Cherry Berry Granola_1078
  3. In a large bowl, use a spatula to stir together oats, almonds, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.DFTSI Cherry Berry Granola_1073
  4. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter or oil, honey and sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat stirring constantly with a whisk to get the sugar to dissolve and the mixture to come together. Once it comes together and simmers about 30 seconds, remove from heat. Whisk in the pure vanilla extract.
  5. Pour the hot liquid mixture over the oat mixture in the bowl. Stir well with a large spatula or wooden spoon. Spread granola on prepared jelly roll pan. Bake at 300° until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Once or twice during the baking time, pull out and stir well and put back in for the remainder of the baking.DFTSI Cherry Berry Granola_1054
  6. Transfer pan to a rack; If you want to add in dried fruit, add it now. Cool granola completely. If you want smaller chunks, stir several times while it cools so that it doesn’t harden into large chunks. If you want to add in mini chocolate chips, add them now after it has cooled completely.DFTSI Cherry Berry Granola_1089-1
  7. When cooled, use your hands to break apart to the size you want and store in an airtight container.

by Michelle Palin ~ My Gluten-free Kitchen

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Autumn Gingerbread Muffins

Celebrate Fall and the Holidays by serving these adorable gingerbread muffins. These molasses and ginger treats are easy to make and add a festive look to any table. Serve them alone or with lemon curd. Trader Joe’s offers a great gingerbread mix that makes serving these cuties a snap.

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Autumn Gingerbread Cakelets

Yield: 16 Cakelets (144 calories each)

Ingredients
1 box Trader Joe’s Gingerbread Baking Mix
1 large egg
1/3 cup canola oil
¾ cup water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray cakelet pan with Trader Joe’s Canola Oil spray and sprinkle lightly with a few pinches of flour.
  3. Combine egg, oil and water in a bowl and then add mix. Fold together gently until ingredients are moistened. (don’t over-stir as the cakelets will become more dense).
  4. Fill the molds of the cakelet pan no more than ¾ full to avoid overflow. I use a tablespoon and then spread mixture to level tops and fill corners of each shape. Tap the pan firmly a few times on countertop to remove air bubbles.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of a cakelet comes out clean.

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  1. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes then invert onto a cooling rack.
  2. Serve with lemon curd if you wish.   Yummy!

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Note: My cakelet pan is made by Nordic Ware.  Any muffin or cakelet pan works well too.