Sunday, December 1, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Granola

It's official, we have a new favorite granola. Of course, it's just a variation on the one we've been making for months, but it still feels new. This one utilizes my favorite homemade baking ingredient of the fall - pumpkin butter. And even better, this was 100% Joey's idea! I love that he is coming up with new ways to incorporate pumpkin into everything. I will never ever complain about that.

This is going to sound strange, but we omitted the salt from the recipe because we found it tasted slightly off. I normally always use a little bit of salt in all of my baked goods, and don't actually taste it, but somehow it affected the taste of the granola. Every once in a while, we'll forget about that oddity and include it by mistake, just because we're carefully following the original recipe, and we can definitely tell that we used it.

This is a really easy recipe to follow, and it can work with whatever you have in your kitchen. The original recipe calls for dried fruit, so if you like that, add up to 1 cup to the granola once it comes out of the oven. Use your favorite nuts, but for the best results, use raw - they'll get nice and toasted while baking. You also could use any kind of fruit/vegetable puree - here I use a combination of applesauce and pumpkin butter, but you could use either of those alone, or pumpkin puree, strawberry puree, etc. The spices are another place where you can play around with the recipe. This granola could taste completely different with just a few simple changes.

My favorite part of this, though, is how healthy it is! You can put a big scoop on top of your greek yogurt and fresh fruit (my favorite way of eating this), without needing to count calories.

Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Granola
Adapted from: Baking Bites
Yield: 20 (1/3-cup) servings

3 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 cups crispy rice cereal
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup of nuts (I've used pecans, sunflower seeds, cashews, and almonds in the past)
3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup apple sauce (or just a little less than a 4 oz individual container)
1/2 cup pumpkin butter (use homemade!)
3 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a large baking sheet with foil.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats and cereal.

Chop up your nuts (this time we used pecans, whole cashews, and almonds).

Measure out all of your spices (we are a big fan of cinnamon so I used TONS)

Add spices and nuts to the cereal mixture.

In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar, apple sauce, pumpkin butter, honey and vanilla.

Pour the wet mixture into the large bowl, and mix well until everything is combined.

Spread out on the baking sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes, then (carefully) flip everything over. Bake another 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy on the edges.

Cool on the pan. Break up into pieces, and enjoy over yogurt, with milk, or just on its own for a tasty snack.


                                                              Big clusters on top!

Nutrition: (per 1/3-cup serving)
153 calories
4.5 g fat
28.2 g carbs
2.1 g fiber
3.2 g protein