pumpkin granola

The approach of every season is exciting to me for reasons that are unique and specific to that season. Fall beckons with warm colours and smells, the bounty of the harvest, crisp air, thick wool sweaters, school rooms (despite the fact that it has been ages since I was a student), soups, stews, and .... cooking with pumpkin! I love pumpkin cakes, waffles, pastas, cookies, soups ... the list goes on and every year new ideas join the queue.

Shan and Gabby were over the other night and eventually the conversation got around to granola. (Doesn't it always?) Gabby said that she had made some really yummy pumpkin granola and I was immediately intrigued. After they left I hopped online to see what I could see. I don't know where I have been but it seems as though everyone and their dog has been making (and posting a recipe for) pumpkin granola. Not wanting to be behind at all I determined to make a batch asap. Almost every single posted recipe is the same one and I figured that meant it was probably a good recipe but, me being me, I made a few adjustments when I tried it myself. The result is most likely not any better than what others have posted but I have to say it is absolutely delicious. I share my version here and beg pardon if it is just one too many pumpkin granola recipes for the world to support.

It smells so very good as it bakes and tastes like fall and comfort and warmth on a spoon. In texture this is a softer, chewy granola rather than crunchy but that is just the way that Jonathon prefers it (and if you haven't tried it you should because it really is yummy). The other recipes I saw were fat free - which is a virtue I know - but I like a little fat with my sugar and salt, so I added some coconut oil with all of the benefits it brings.

pumpkin granola
(adapted from several posted recipes)

3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)
4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
3 Tbsp chia seed
3 Tbsp hemp seed hearts
2 Tbsp milled flaxseed
1/2 cup flaked coconut
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup roasted pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl mix together the pumpkin puree, spices,  brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and coconut oil. Add the oats, chia seed, hempseed hearts, flaxseed, and coconut. Stir well. The mixture will be moist.

Spread the mixture evenly on the baking sheet. Using the back of a spatula pack the mixture fairly firmly together so that it is about 1" thick. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn the granola over (it will break up a bit - that's okay, just pack it back together). Bake for an additional 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Break up the granola and add the dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds. Stir. Store in an airtight container.

Serve with milk or yogurt. My personal preference is coconut milk. But that is a matter of record by now.

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