Pumpkin Spice Granola
It’s finally here: pumpkin spice season. Get your oversized sweaters and cute ankle booties ready. It’s time to [pumpkin] spice up your life. Any Spice Girls fans out there?
I made a few different pumpkin pie/spice inspired recipes last year. One of my all time favorite fall recipes is my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes - they’re as unreal as they sound and are great for freezing and eating later! If you’re looking for a breakfast or snack on the go, my Pumpkin Loaf is a great transportable option, too.
If you’re reading this post, I’m assuming you’re a fan of pumpkin spice. There are so many options and varieties of foods that are pumpkin flavored now it’s almost overwhelming. On top of that, so many of those options are full of processed or unnecessary added sugars. I love pumpkin spice but, not excessive sweetness.
I’m also a very big advocate for making your own version of something if you can. Granola is one the easiest examples of that mentality. Granola’s base is rolled oats, a syrup or nut butter for sweetness, nuts or seeds, and an oil. You can make granola so many different ways, it’s one of my favorite recipes to experiment with repeatedly.
However, there is one very important step many people skip over or don’t know about when making their own granola. It’s imperative you give it a quick toss half way through the baking process. If you let the oats sit in the same spot for the entire 30 minutes, uninterrupted, it will cause them to burn which is not a good flavor. Char from a grill is one thing, but flat out burned, overly crunchy granola is just sad.
Another pro-tip for granola making is to wait to add any desired nuts to your mixture half way through the baking process. When you remove your pan to move around the half-baked granola, this is when you should add your desired nuts. They can still be tossed in the “seasonings” you used for the rest of your granola, but they require much less time in the baking process. These will burn much quicker than the oats but taste equally as sad when burned.
When it comes to sweeteners you have a couple options. Traditionally, Grade A maple syrup (the extra good stuff) is used as the base of sweetness. Now, more often, you’ll see people use agave nectar for it’s sweeter flavor. Agave has a more browned sugar flavor to me than maple syrup, in my opinion. This is simply a taste preference, but a good option if you don’t like maple syrup!
However, for this recipe, I had my secret ingredient - pumpkin butter - to add all the sweetness I needed, in addition to the brown sugar, of course. In all honesty, I was out of maple syrup but I’m really happy with how the brown sugar added a subtler sweetness. It may even have resulted in a lower sugar content (probably just wishful thinking, though).
I got my pumpkin butter from Trader Joe’s but I’m sure you can find it at other grocers or seasonal markets. Despite “butter” in the name, there is no dairy in this delicious fall inspired spread.
2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup pumpkin butter
1/4 cup + 1tbsp melted coconut oil
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (use 1 full tsp for stronger flavor)
1 tsp chia seeds
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the rolled oats, melted coconut oil, pumpkin butter, brown sugar, chia seeds, pumpkin pie spice, and pinch of salt. Fold together for about two minutes until evenly combined and coated.
On a silicon mat or parchment paper lined baking sheet, evenly spread the granola mixture. Gently pack it down onto the pan to help create clusters when finished baking.
Place in the oven and set a timer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes have passed, remove from the oven, gently toss and add your pumpkin seeds (or any other nut you wish). Place in the oven for another 15 minutes.
After the final 15 minutes have passed, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before storing in an air tight jar. This will stay fresh for about a month.