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Make this cranberry and candied ginger granola part of your winter routine

Warmly fragrant with cinnamon and cloves, lightly maple-sweetened and festive with dried cranberries and crystallized ginger, this granola has a heartwarming holiday vibe.  (Tom McCorkle/For the Washington Post)
By Ellie Krieger Special To The Washington Post

If I run out of homemade granola, someone needs to call a doctor because it’s a sign that something is terribly amiss.

I always have a batch in my refrigerator (where it keeps longer than at room temperature) waiting to be eaten with milk and berries, sprinkled on yogurt or layered on top of simmered fruit for a short-cut crisp.

No packaged granola I’ve tried has come close to appealing to me as much as my own, which, however I might vary it, is always loaded with nuts and seeds, lightly sweetened with pure maple syrup and baked at a low temperature until a deep, toasted flavor develops.

Granola is well worth the 45 minutes it takes to make a batch every couple of weeks. During December, though, I typically find myself immersed in granola production, making multiple batches of this special holiday version to give as gifts.

This year in particular, my friends would be disappointed if I didn’t come through with ribbon-tied jars of my granola, warmly fragrant with cinnamon and cloves, and festive with dried cranberries and crystalized ginger.

Of course, it’s also a gift I give to myself as evidenced by the big jar of it sitting in my refrigerator right now.

Holiday Granola

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup walnut pieces

1 cup sliced almonds

½ cup raw, unsalted sunflower seeds

½ cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons neutral oil such as canola or safflower

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

½ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup chopped crystallized ginger

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss the oats, walnuts, almonds and sunflower seeds to combine. Add the maple syrup, oil, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves and toss to coat evenly.

Spread the mixture onto a large, rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes, or until deeply browned and toasted, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes.

Let the granola cool on the baking sheet at room temperature, about 20 minutes; the granola will crisp as it cools.

Toss in the dried cranberries and crystallized ginger and transfer to an airtight container.

Yield: 26 servings

Storage notes: The granola can be refrigerated in an airtight container for as long as two weeks.