Doesn't that photo just scream Fall to you! Coincidentally, that's me in the photo and as you can tell I was uber excited to play with leaves and see an orange tree. :) I love it when summer ends, days become colder, and the air turns crisp. It's a sure sign the winter months are near and sweater season is a comin'. Lobster and I went to Boston for the weekend and I was mesmerized by all the beautiful foliage there. Sadly, after spending a few days on the East Coast I had to return to the ugly green and brown trees of California. It's times like these I wish I lived in a city that has more then two seasons.
Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I thought I'd embrace the holiday early and make something pumpkin-y. I don't know about you, but anything involving pumpkin reminds me of Fall and Turkey Day. Hence, I bring you pumpkin granola - a healthy way to start your day off right.
I consider this healthy because there's no butter or oil binding the ingredients together. Pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and applesauce work as the "glue" and add just a touch of sweetness to the granola. The pumpkin flavor was not overwhelming in the least bit and if anything, it probably could've been a bit sweeter IMO. Since there's hardly any fat in the recipe, you don't get the same crunchy texture as you would in store bought granola - this produces a moister granola with a chewier consistency, which I didn't mind. I had some this morning with milk but it would be wonderful as a yogurt topping as well. Enjoy.
Adapted from Baking Bites
5 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
¾ tsp sea salt
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pepitas
1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine oats, spices, and salt. Mix well.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Pour wet ingredients into oat mixture and stir until the oats are evenly coated. They will be moist. Evenly spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.
4. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and stir. Bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the granola is golden and crisp. Add the nuts during the last 10 minutes of baking so they do not burn. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Stir in dried cranberries and store in an airtight container.
*To make your own pumpkin pie spice mix 1-1/2 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp nutmeg, ½ tsp ginger, ¼ tsp all spice together to make 1 tbs and use as directed.
**Note-serve granola with yogurt, milk, or enjoy plain.
***Granola will keep for one week or if you store it in an air-tight container in the fridge it will keep for monthsVariation: I have omitted the pumpkin spice and added 2 tbs of pumpkin butter and used 3 tbs of maple syrup instead of 1/4 cup and also used unsweetened applesauce