May Madness is here, bringing with it so many school celebrations and projects and to-dos. Not the least of those is end-of-the-year teacher gifts.
It’s always a question: How do we thank the wonderful teachers and staff who guided our children through the year? Starbucks gift cards? Personalized notepads? Orchids? (For more ideas, see Magic Granola – and Other Teacher Gifts here.)
Having had children in schools for the past 18 years (is that possible?), I’ve given my fair share of gifts. And even though the gesture was always appreciated by the teachers, I was never really sure whether they actually liked the gifts we were giving. Until a couple of years ago.
That’s when I had the genius idea, if I must say so, to give teachers the granola that my own family cannot get enough of. It’s from the Bird Bakery in San Antonio (there’s also an outpost now in Dallas’ Highland Village), and I have never met anyone who didn’t think it was irresistible. One Christmas I bought a bunch of little mason jars full of it and wrapped them with ribbons and tiny jingle bells, to over-the-top responses. One teacher said, “My wife says that granola is for a special kind of person!” Another wanted to know where to buy more. And for another teacher, it truly was the impetus to raise my child’s grade an entire letter. It wasn’t necessarily right, but it happened, and we weren’t going to protest.
Our family became known for our gifts of granola, and teachers told us they looked forward to receiving it twice a year. When my daughter graduated, we gave it once again to her favorite teachers.
Happily, the Bird Bakery Granola recipe is easily accessible and easy to make. If you’re not into making and packaging your own, you can certainly buy it from the bakery. But it sure does feel good to have made and given a gift that you know will put a smile on teachers’ faces after a long year.
Magic Bird Bakery Granola
5 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
2 cups unsalted, shelled pistachios
2/3 cup unsalted, shelled pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon coarse salt
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
2/3 cup Grade A maple syrup
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ cups dried cherries
Heat the oven to 275 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, coconut, pistachios, pumpkin seeds and salt. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine the sugars, maple syrup and olive oil, stirring over low heat until the sugar dissolves completely. Pour over oat mixture. Stir well
Divide the granola between the two baking sheets. Bake until it is golden, about 20 – 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheets at 10 minutes. Cool the granola, break it up and sprinkle in the dried cherries.
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