Whole Living: Give Granola

To make a healthy gift that friends and family will devour this season, skip the fruitcake and go for granola instead. Here's how: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup maple syrup, 2 tablespoons butter, and 1/4 cup brown sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat; reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often. In a large bowl, mix 4 cups rolled oats, 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Pour the honey mixture over the oat mixture and stir. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet and spread granola evenly. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool before transferring to airtight glass containers. Once you've got the basic recipe down, try one of these tasty variations.+ Ginger-apple: Replace 1/4 cup syrup with 1/4 cup molasses and stir 1/4 teaspoon pepper in with oats. Bake for 12 minutes, then add 1 cup total of chopped crystallized ginger and dried apple; bake 8 to 13 minutes.+ Cherry-almond: Stir 1 teaspoon almond extract into the honey mixture while it's simmering. Add 1 cup slivered almonds to the oats. Bake for 12 minutes, then add 1 cup dried cherries; bake 8 to 13 minutes.

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