Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Granola

I had a few friends patiently asking me to post this recipe. :) So here you are! I found this on one Annie's Eats, a blog I have been frequenting lately. Anyway, I have been wanting to try this one for a long time, and today's cold, wet, blustery weather just called for it. This is a keeper! Simple to put together. No added fat or oil, other than the nuts, which are good for you anyway. And it smelled A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. while baking. Of course it tastes fabulous too, so there you have it.

Pumpkin Spice Granola
3 ½ cups rolled oats
2 ½ cups puffed rice cereal (NOT Rice Krispies - I found these in a bag in the health food aisle)
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice **see below for substitution
¾ tsp. salt
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
up to 1 ½ cups chopped nuts (I used pecans and pumpkin seeds - cashews would be great. And next time I'll use more pumpkin seeds - I had some from the bulk bins, without shells)
up to 1 cup dried fruit (I used Craisins, but it's good without them too)

Preheat the oven to 325°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine oats and puffed rice cereal. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin pie spice, salt, sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk until very smooth. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until the oat mixture is evenly coated. Spread on the prepared baking sheet in an even layer.
Bake for 30 minutes. Then turn over the granola using a large, wide spatula. Sprinkle the nuts onto the granola and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until crisp and golden. Depending on the size of your baking sheet, the center may not be fully dried if your granola layer is thick, so if necessary remove the edges of the cooked granola and let the rest cook until done, 10-15 more minutes. Granola may still seem a bit soft but will get crunchy as it cools. (I overbaked mine a bit and it's a little hard on the teeth.) Cool on pan. Break up granola as desired and toss with dried fruit. Store in an airtight container.

**Don't bother spending extra money on pumpkin pie spice - just use the following for this recipe:
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
This makes 2 tsp of "pumpkin pie spice" - adjust accordingly for different amounts in other recipes.

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