If I haven’t already convinced you to make an edible holiday gift this year, maybe this recipe today will seal the deal. It has to be one of the easiest recipes to throw together using less than 10 minutes of precious holiday time. Plus, it’s a recipe you can make well in advance without having to worry about it going bad any time soon. Just pop it in a jar and leave it on your shelf, tucked away until that special someone pops over for a visit. I think we’ve just entered Martha territory here!
So what is this pretty little treat, you ask? It’s simply pecans and walnuts that have been coated in granola. They are baked in the oven until crisp and crunchy making a delightful finger food or garnish for a hot bowl of oatmeal. I can’t take credit for this genius idea though, it comes from Deb over at Smitten Kitchen. When I saw her recipe a few weeks ago, I knew I had to try making a vegan version or my life as I know it wouldn’t be complete. (I’m not dramatic at all despite what my husband says.)
I figured my goal of having a crispy coating of granola would only be possible with a very sticky base – almost like a “glue” for the granola to adhere to. Brown rice syrup worked wonderfully for this task.
Simply pour a few tablespoons of syrup onto the nuts. The key here is to stir the nuts very thoroughly until every nook and cranny is covered with syrup; this ensures the granola has every chance in life to succeed!
After coating the nuts, stir in the granola mixture until combined. The granola will stick to the nuts, forming a homely-looking coating. Don’t worry though, it will caramelize and turn golden in the oven leaving big clumps to break apart with your hands!
Spread the nuts onto a parchment lined baking sheet into a single layer, like so:
After 20 some odd minutes of baking at 275F, you’ll be left with seriously addictive granola-coated nuts, delightfully crispy on the outside and tender in the middle. I don’t think I need to tell you that Eric and I polished off my first trial within 24 hours. Consider this your warning (or encouragement).
[Shown above: Eric conned into being my hand model while waiting patiently to dig in.]
Granola Nut Clusters (gluten-free, oil-free, soy-free)
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Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.
Yield: approx. 3.5 cups
- 1 cup raw walnut halves
- 1/2 cup raw pecan halves
- 3 tbsp brown rice syrup*
- 6 tbsp gluten-free rolled oats
- 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2-3 tbsp Sucanat sugar*
- Heaping 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- Scant 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
- freshly grated nutmeg, to garnish
1. Preheat oven to 275F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place walnuts and pecans into a large mixing bowl. Pour on brown rice syrup and stir very well until combined for about 60 seconds. Your goal is to have every nook and cranny covered in syrup. No pressure!
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the oats, coconut, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pour it onto the nuts and mix very well until combined. Some of the oat mixture won’t adhere to the nuts, but that’s ok because it adds character.
4. Spoon the entire mixture onto the baking sheet including any oats that didn’t stick. Spread into a single layer so they have room to get toasty. Garnish with fresh nutmeg. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake for another 10-13 minutes (I baked for 23 mins total) and allow to cool on the pan for at least 10 minutes.
5. Once cool, break apart clumps and store in glass jars or Tupperware containers. I expect these would stay good for at least a month.
Substitution Notes: 1) Brown rice syrup works amazing in this recipe because it is so crazy sticky. For this reason, it can be difficult to replace it in a recipe that requires its binding properties. I haven’t tried anything else, but if you eat honey that might work or even coconut nectar since both are very sticky. 2) You can substitute Sucanat with brown sugar or with Turbinado sugar. I don’t recommend subbing with coconut sugar. I tried this and found that it dried the mixture out due to its powdery nature.
You might be wondering if you can use other types of nuts. I recommend using craggy nuts like pecans and walnuts since smooth nuts (like almonds) don’t have the rough texture to “grip” the granola. You can certainly try any nuts you wish though! As always, I would love to hear your feedback in the comments if you try out this recipe or your own modified version.
I’ve been trying to think of what to bring to a mixed-group potluck tomorrow afternoon. I think we have a winner!!! Thanks for posting yummy stuff like this. Ohsheglows.com is my go-to site when I want something new to feed the family because I know it will turn out great! You rock!
Thank you Glenna! I hope you and your friends enjoy it. :)
I’ve made Fruit Ketchup this year and should make this granola also. What a nice gift!
I just made my versions of Deb’s granola nuts the other day for our holiday party. I used flax egg instead of the egg white, and a bit of maple syrup in addition to the brown sugar. Spiced with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, these were a hit with everyone!
I was wondering how a flax egg would turn out but was afraid it wouldn’t be sticky enough. I will have to try it next time to compare! Glad it worked for you. :)
They look delicious Angela!
I love granola. And nuts. And Smitten Kitchen. This vegan version is perfect! Thanks Angela. Like Glenna said, I can always count on anything I make from your site to be a hit with the family (and they’re all omnivores!)
Okay Ang, you have me SO convinced! I love this idea and it is something I personally would love to have. ;) thanks!!
The best part of my favorite cereals! I picture the Mr coming home asking where the granola is and me pleading innocent with oats between my teeth.
What a wonderful gift I doubt they would even make it to the jars or even to my friends and family I could would not be able to help myself and my sweet tooth… I love nuts and sugar oh such a perfect combination!!!
I love making granola clusters to give as gifts! They are easy to make and sure to please!
The best part of granola! The clusters.And nuts covered in granola is such a wonderful addition to life. Great Holiday gift for sure.
Any kind of chunky and oat-filled granola, that can double as a make-ahead gift or portable snack, is a total win. Love any of Deb’s recipes and your version is a winner, too!
Oh wow, that looks delicious! I love how you packaged them in those beautiful jars with the tag and twine. I love stuff like this. I know just the person to make this for too! Thanks for the inspiration!
Great recipe! We’re spending the holidays with my family which means travel travel travel. I love bringing goodies, but I have to be careful because we have to take things that are allowed into the USA, that travels well and that won’t go stale before we get there! This is perfect!!!
Your pictures are out of the park on this post! Love them. I have also been vegan-izing some of Deb’s recipes, they are always still amazing!!
Thank you Abby!
This looks amazing. Thanks so much for veganizing (and reminding me of) this recipe! I was dying to make it as soon as it went up on Smitten Kitchen.
Maybe this will help me get my boyfriend to try some more vegan foods. Is your husband vegan as well?
hah it’s hard to resist a vegan dessert!
Eric isn’t a vegan, but his diet is probably 80-90% vegan now. He still drinks organic cow’s milk and has meat occasionally when he goes out, but he has really taking a liking to vegan dishes that I cook.
I’m a big fan of granola clusters. I like clumpy/lumpy textures so this seems like the perfect granola for me!!
This looks fantastic! I love homemade gifts especially edible ones.
Have a great weekend!
Your pictures are always amazing! Makes me want to make them right now! Only not to give as presents…for me to eat :) They look too good to share!
I’m so glad you posted this recipe! I saw deb’s recipe for these a while back but was wondering how I could make a vegan version for my boyfriend but didn’t think a flax egg would do the trick. Now I just gotta go out and get some rice syrup.
Thanks for all your great recipes…I’ve made quite a few of them over the past year and they’ve all turned out wonderful!
Thanks Corey, I’m so glad to hear that! Enjoy
These look so crunchy and delicious – I LOVE granola! I’m sure this will be dangerous to have around the house….
Looks so yummy and perfect for gifts! Really only 6 T of oats? Doesn’t seem like that would yield 3.5 cups??
I didn’t think it would make that much either, but thanks to the big clumps it increases in volume. :)
Do you think maple syrup would work in place of brown rice syrup? I know it’s not as thick, but I prefer the flavor.
It probably wouldn’t stick as much (you’d probably end up with granola with big nuts in it!) but im sure it would still taste great anyway. Let me know how it goes if you try it!
I love to make edible gifts, and in fact last year I gave an edible gift to all of my closest friends and family members. It’s so personal and everyone appreciates it. A few years back I made some nice glazed nuts for a little pre xmas dinner nibble, but never thought to give them as gifts. These granola nut clusters sound delicious! Of course, I’ll have to make a test batch (or two) for myself, you know, just to make sure they taste alright..
These look so yummy!
Looks delicious, I love those jars, I feel like they make everything look more desirable and appetizing.
Your timing on posting this is perfect! I’ve been looking for a homemade edible gift to make for my family for Christmas. I’m definitely making this recipe! Thank you so much! Your recipes are always delicious!
I just tried making these, followed the recipe exactly and they came out great! It doesn’t look like you are making much when you start to mix everything in the bowl, but after putting it in the oven it does increase in volume. It’s magic! :P And I found the exact jars at crate and barrel too. What a cute idea!
Hey Kimberly, So glad to hear you enjoyed it! Thanks for letting me know. :)
I love this cluster idea, but for portion control! Making clusters so 1 or 2 equals a portion would be great for me. Granola is really easy to overdo!
These are super cute Ange! I think I saw something similar on Pinterest and you’re totally making me want to start crafting this weekend! I just got back from California (work, not play unfortunately) so laundry’s gotta come first!
I saw this on Smitten Kitchen, it’s on my must make list!! Love the changes you made and it looks fabulous! I can’t wait to make it!
I’m wondering if coconut nectar would work?
If you enjoy the flavour, I can’t see why it wouldn’t work!
Why is brown rice syrup still on the menu? It’s full of arsenic!
Hi Mike, Feel free to swap brown rice syrup for another sticky sweetener like honey or coconut nectar. I use it in very small quantities and I also don’t consume a lot of other rice products in my diet.
What a coincidence! I made some granola with lots of nuts yesterday (although not enough nuts to compare to these clusters). Guess I have something new to try after I finish off my batch!
Eric’s “hand model” shot is magazine-worthy :-)
Do you have the Smitten Kitchen cookbook? I totally have that on my Christmas wish list :-)
These look very tasty! Thanks for sharing the recipe! I’m going to make some for our Christmas dessert :)
Those oooey goooey pecans and walnuts are making my mouth water. I think edible homemade gifts are awesome! It’s also such a nice little way to go back to old traditions you know? :)
Oh this is a fantastic idea! This is my first holiday after having moved far away and I’ve been wracking my brain trying to think of something that I could fly with that wouldn’t take up much room or have to worry about wrinkling wrapping paper etc.
Hi! How long do these last for? They’re delicious but once the holidays come around it will be too hectic to try and make them so I wanted to make them ahead of time…
I would expect they would last for at least 3 weeks in a sealed conatiner. Granola tends to last quite a long time I think.
Hi! How long do these last for?
Im not positive but I would expect they would last for at least a few weeks in a sealed container.
they last about 1-2 days, then you’ll need to make more! lol!!
Thank you so much for sharing this great idea! I’m sure it’s delicious, and I absolutely love the idea of preparing these beautiful jars as gifts for my friends. Thanks again!
I know what my co-workers are getting for Christmas! Beautiful, easy, and delicious!
I’m new to raw nuts… Is it assumed that we soak the raw nuts first before we prepare them or for the purposes of this recipe, should we not do that? Thoughts? :) (& as always, thank you! I am completely drooling over these!)
Hey Cynthia, I’m not sure how soaking would impact the overall outcome in this recipe. I think you might have to soak them and then dehydrate before proceeding?
Angela! You’re the best. Thank you for this. Do you think adding raisins would work too? Also, would Agave be a good sub for the brown rice syrup? I’m not sure it’s sticky enough? Thank you!!!! :-)
Thanks, Angela, these are just in time for me to take to a friend’s Christmas Brunch! Where do you find the cute tags to identify the contents?
Hey Karen, I made them myself just using scrapbooking paper. I printed a tag online and just traced it.
I am definitely making this a staple for my christmas giving, thank you, ever since I came across your site I am hooked, I look forward to trying everything, I just transition little over year from a vegetarian to vegan diet, your ideas and dishes has made me realize that this lifestyle is actually fun and exciting. Where can I get those containers you use.?
Hey Barbie, The Weck jars are from Crate and Barrel. Thanks for your kind words!
Oh must try it! Looks so tasty!
Just found your blog and I think you have a new reader here! Very inspiring :))
This might be the most amazing new holiday recipie inspiration Ive seen lately–this is getting done on my next day off!! I cant wait to try this. Thanks angela!
This looks delicious, and so easy that even I couldn’t mess it up hahaha:p
I’ve been considering giving some healthy eats as Christmas gifts this year…but I’m thinking it would either be a big hit, or high fail! :)