Pumpkin spice granola

When I was a little girl, I used to love it when we would walk through the bulk section at the natural foods grocery store, Sun Harvest. Every now and then my mom would let me pick out a flavor of granola to bring home. I always opted for the blueberry fields blend, and of course when I was shoveling it into my little plastic bag, I would sneak a few sample pieces. It was such a treat.
I wasn’t really allowed to eat things like pop tarts, toaster strudels, etc for breakfast as a kid, so I am absolutely not exaggerating when I say that granola was a treat.  Wes is still amazed by the fact that I have not had toaster strudels before. But, I am determined to make my own homemade version. Of course having no basis to work off of, they may not taste much like the original. Anyway, back to the granola…
Although granola seems like something that should be healthy, it often times packs quite the calorie and sugar punch. On occasion I will buy a small bag of it, but this happens rarely as I know it is one of those foods, like cereal, that I will mindlessly eat while hanging around my kitchen.
A sign of a true food lover… I hang out in my kitchen instead of on the couch. I’m not sure if I should be proud of this or not.
Earlier this week I was having a serious granola craving. So I thought instead of going out and buying some, why not try making it at home.  I’m so glad I did because not only did I use up some leftover pumpkin puree I had in the fridge, but I’m pretty sure this granola is a whole lot healthier than the type you would find at the grocery store.

Crunchy and sweet, with hints of pumpkin, cayenne, and maple syrup. This granola has a few unusual flavors, but they paired together nicely.

Pumpkin Spice Granola
Modified from Bright Eyed Baker

4 cups old fashioned oatmeal
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup whole dried cranberries
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 egg whites
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a large bowl, add oats, pecans, walnuts, cranberries, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne pepper.  Stir together.  Add in egg whites, pumpkin puree, honey, and maple syrup.  Stir until completely combined.

Pour granola mixture onto a non-stick cookie sheet. Use a spatula to spread it out and flatten it. Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until your granola is crispy. I used the broiler on mine for the final 3 minutes to give it the extra crunch factor.  Store in an air tight container.

This granola makes the perfect small snack, or is great sprinkled on top of greek yogurt (my favorite way to eat it).  The flavors are definitely reminiscent of fall, but I think you can easily enjoy it year round. Plus, you could alway sub out the pumpkin and add in applesauce instead.  It would be great with a variety of dried fruits. I am already dreaming up combinations for my next batch.

My only advice is to make absolute sure your container is sealed tight. I accidentally left a corner of mine open the other night and woke up to less than crunchy granola. 🙁 Don’t worry, I’m still eating it. I would just prefer it be slightly crunchier.

I am the queen of leaving containers and bags open to find stale food later on. My dad can attest to this. My mother and I both seem to share this problem and have received countless lectures from him over the years on the importance of properly sealing the bag.  Guess we are a little stubborn.

Or we just really like stale food.

Sorry Dad.

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