Fun Recipe: Holiday Gift Jars!

Written by: Chef Heidi DeCosmo on December 16, 2016


Chef Heidi DeCosmo
Chef Heidi DeCosmo

Christmas baking has always been a highlight of the holiday season. I have wonderful memories of baking with my mom and sisters leading up to Christmas. Our mom made delicate and creatively decorated cookies to share with family and friends. Making and giving food as presents has been a tradition of mine for many years and I like to try something new every year.

This year is going to be extra fun and special because my daughter, Serena, has turned into quite the creative and talented baker. Working alongside her has made me realize how special baking with loved ones can be. One of our favorite things to make is homemade granola. We started with a base recipe from an amazing Morrison Healthcare Chef Norbert Bomm and created a custom base with flavor options using all of the ingredient Serena loves.

Granola makes a great gift during the holidays with recipe variations affording lots of options to bless the important people in your life. This is the perfect gift for teachers, co-workers, family and friends. You can pack the granola in decorative tins, mason jars or gift bags. Include a tag with these serving suggestions: Serve granola as a snack, use it in a yogurt parfait, add to your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe or as a topping on frozen yogurt or ice cream.

Here are a few nutritional gems that make this granola a winner. In most granola, oil is used as the binder. We remove most of the oil and use honey as the sweetener and binder in this recipe. This creates a light, crispy granola that is just sweet enough. Chewy, but moist, oats are sweeter and nuttier than other grains because of their higher lipid profile.

They are also a good source of protein, B vitamins, calcium, unsaturated fats and fiber. If you want to make this gluten free, purchase gluten-free oats and substitute a gluten-free flour for wheat germ such as quinoa, almond flour or even chia seeds.

Yummy Holiday Gift Jars!
Yummy Holiday Gift Jars!

Base Recipe 

2 cups quick oatmeal

1/2 cup whole wheat germ

1 Tablespoon sesame seeds

1 Tablespoon ground flax seeds

3/4 cup sliced almonds

1/4 cup canola oil

Coconut M&M

5 ounce unsweetened shredded coconut

2 cups M&M’s

Pecan & Walnut 

Replace almonds with

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup pecans

1/2 cup walnuts

Cranberry

Add

2 cups dried cranberry to base recipe or pecan & walnut variation

For the Granola: Preheat the oven to 300F degrees.  Mix all of the dry ingredients except for the M&M’s and dried cranberries in large bowl.  In a small sauce pan heat the oil and honey to a low boil. Stir honey into dry mix and combine thoroughly. Spread out on a sheet pan and bake until toasted and golden. Bake on 300F for approximately 40 minutes, stirring frequently so the granola browns evenly. Once cool, stir in the M&Ms or dried cranberries if using. Store in air tight container for up to 2 weeks.

Base Granola: 10 servings 

2 oz granola: Calories 259 | Protein 5g | Total Fat 11g | Saturated Fat 0.9g | Carbs 36g | Dietary Fiber 4g

Cholesterol 36mg | Sodium 4mg

Coconut M&M Granola: 20 servings 

2 oz granola: Calories 278 | Protein 4g | Total Fat 14g | Saturated Fat 10g | Carbs 34g | Dietary Fiber 3g

Cholesterol 3mg | Sodium 17mg

Pecan & Walnut: 11 servings

2 oz granola: Calories 244| Protein 4g | Total Fat 13g | Saturated Fat 0.9g | Carbs 30g | Dietary Fiber 3g

Cholesterol 0mg | Sodium 3mg

Cranberry: 16 servings

2 oz granola: Calories 239 | Protein 3g | Total Fat 10g | Saturated Fat 0.9g | Carbs 35g | Dietary Fiber 3g

Cholesterol 38mg | Sodium 3mg

Be Sure to download Chef DeCosmo’s Holiday Granola Gift Jar Recipe PDF below

Chef Heidi DeCosmo

Chef DeCosmo serves as the Executive Assistant to Chef Cary Neff, the Vice President of Corporate Culinary Services for Morrison Healthcare. Heidi works alongside the Morrison Culinary team to develop and implement all new hospital menus, culinary concepts and recipes.

Chef DeCosmo has worked alongside Chef Neff as his recipe developer, tester and editor for his Conscious Cuisine® Cookbook. She is an accomplished lecturer, cooking instructor and chief developer of the award-winning Flavors 450 concept as well as the Central Table Café for Morrison Healthcare/

She brings 20 years of hospitality experience to the team. She is trained as a whole-food vegan chef from the Natural Gourmet Institute and is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and Chef’s Moves to School Programs.

The Morrison Healthcare BLOG TEAM would also like to recognize and thank Chef Heidi for her incredible support and leadership in organizing and curating culinary content for our Power of Food BLOG!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!