Some gifts will last for weeks, perhaps more. Others are best eaten within a day or two.
Not only are homemade gifts a great way to save money during the holiday season, they're a thoughtful and creative way to show how much you care.
Total time: 50 minutes, plus cooling time / Makes 16 cups
Note: Adapted from Christine Moore's "Little Flower: Recipes From the Cafe."
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
3 cups mixed chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts and pumpkin seeds)
4 cups mixed chopped dried fruit (sour cherries, cranberries, apples, pears, apricots, raisins, dates)
1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two jellyroll pans with silicone mats or parchment.
2. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the oil, sugar, maple syrup and salt until clear, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
3. Place the rolled oats and the mixed nuts in a large mixing bowl and pour the sugar mixture over. Stir with a spatula to coat the oats and nuts evenly. Divide the mixture between the lined jellyroll pans, patting with the back of a spatula to make thin, even layers.
4. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes, rotating the sheets and stirring halfway through.
5. Cool slightly before stirring in the dried fruit and storing. The mixture will keep in a tightly covered container at room temperature for at least a week.