Mornings are about repetition for most people. Yogurt. Cereal. Eggs. Toast. All of these are foods that require little effort to construct and not much more effort to eat, although they’re definitely a satisfying way to start the day. I like to stick to the same – or similar -Â foods foods for breakfast, too, because it means that I don’t have to think too hard before my coffee is ready. Lately, I’ve been eating homemade granola and, for a little variety, I decided to change up my usual recipe with a fall twist.
The granola I make most often uses applesauce as a binder in place of butter or oil. The granola still bakes up to be satisfyingly crunchy, but there is no added fat beyond that from the (healthy) nuts incorporated into the mix. For this batch, I used some applesauce and some pumpkin puree as binders. The pumpkin has almost the same consistency as applesauce, but adds a different flavor. I further drew attention to the pumpkin by adding a generous amount of my homemade pumpkin pie spice. The mix includes cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and a bit of cardamom, and I try to always have some on hand.
The granola turned out beautifully. It didn’t have a pumpkin pie flavor persay, but it did have a good dose of fall spice to it that was a nice change of pace for my breakfast. Pecans are the perfect nut to use for this granola, though walnuts and almonds are also good choices. The nuts should be added into the granola towards the end of baking to ensure that they toast up well and you get the best possible flavor; adding the nuts in too early will probably cause them to burn. Granola should be stored in an airtight container to keep it crisp and dried fruit should be added just before serving, not mixed in with the granola.
Pumpkin Spice Granola
3 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix
pinch ground cardamom
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup plain pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup plain applesauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
up to 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts
up to 1 cup dried fruit
nut suggestions: almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds
dried fruit suggestions: cranberries, raisins
Preheat the oven to 325F and line a large baking sheet (or two smaller sheets) with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine oats, puffed rice cereal. In a medium bowl, whisk together spices, salt, sugar, applesauce (do not use chunky applesauce), pumpkin puree, maple syrup and vanilla. Whisk until very smooth.
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir with a spatula or large spoon until mixture is evenly coated. Spread on prepared baking sheet(s) in an even layer.
Bake for 30 minutes, then turn over the granola carefully using a large wide spatula. Sprinkle the nuts onto the granola, then bake everything for additional 15 minutes, until crisp and golden. Depending on the size of your baking sheet, the center might not be fully dried if your granola layer is thick, so if necessary remove the edges of the cooked granola to a cooling rack and let the rest cook for another 10-15 minutes until done.
Cool on pan or on a fine wire rack.
Break granola up as desired and store in an airtight container. Add dried fruit before serving.
Makes about 8 servings, more depending on add-ins.
ShaunaSeptember 3, 2008
I always have some Pecan Pumpkin Butter on hand (it’s great thrown into pancake batter!) – do you think the granola would end up too sticky if I substituted the pumpkin puree for the pumpkin butter?
Either way, this recipe looks great and I can’t wait to try it!
NicoleSeptember 3, 2008
Shauna – No, I think that it would work well. If it doesn’t dry out enough, you can always reduce the temperature slightly towards the end and bake your batch a bit longer.
StephanieSeptember 3, 2008
What a great idea, to use applesauce and pumpkin puree instead of oil in granola! I think I’d like to give this recipe a try sometime! It looks fantastic, very autumn-appropriate.
ColletteSeptember 3, 2008
This sounds delicious! I wanted to tell you that I made your Pistachio Cherry oatmeal cookies bars on Sunday night. I hadn’t planned on dessert and we had company for dinner (oops!). So, after we ate, I grabbed the recipe and made them. They were so wonderful. We did have to change the name of them though to Pistachio Cherry Oatmeal Breakfast Bars so that we wouldn’t feel bad when we scarfed them down the next morning!
LesleySeptember 4, 2008
Autumnal or what?!!
What a delicious idea!
HannahSeptember 4, 2008
This looks like a great variation from regular granola. We’re definately going to have to try this!
PumpkinSeptember 4, 2008
I loooove pumpkin spice flavored things, and I love granola! I’ll have to give this a spin!
AshleySeptember 4, 2008
Ooo I love pumpkin anything so I’m going to have to try this! I’ve been wanting to try applesauce instead of oil in granola for a while so I must do that with my next batch.
KatieSeptember 4, 2008
I love Fall and Pumpkin I will be making this and hopefully soon!
colleenSeptember 4, 2008
this looks amazing! i can’t wait to try it once the weather gets a little cooler than the 90 degrees it is today in the northeast!
ttfn300September 4, 2008
My my, the leaves already have started changing already… I guess it’s time to whip up a batch of this granola 🙂
gizSeptember 4, 2008
What could be bad here – great flavours, things that are good for you and warm the tummy at the same time. I’ve never tried pumpkin granola but I’ll certainly make a point of doing it now.
philSeptember 4, 2008
This is my fav time of the year and I love pumpkin. Can’t wait to try this.
LisaSeptember 5, 2008
Yummy! I love cooking with pumpkin. This’ll be perfect for our upcoming school bake sale – they’re focusing on healthy(ish) treats and this might help ease the way in for some of the traditional treats I like to bring in. 😉
Sally McEntireSeptember 11, 2008
I’m totally excited about this recipe! I love pumpkin spice granola! One question though, have you made it w/o the puffed rice? It just isn’t something I ever have on hand but I still want to make this. Thanks Nicole!
christinaNovember 24, 2008
absolutely AMAZING-i know this is late but i just found this and have made it THREE TIMES so far-EVERYONE loves it!! i use mostly walnuts and pecans for the nuts, but also include sliced almonds, sunflower seeds and even ground flax seeds. for the fruit, i find dried figs (cut in quarters) and cranberries to be absolutely delicious, but i also use raisins and dates. all in all-the BEST granola recipe ever, especially if you like clumpy granola-it can’t be beat!!
DSi FanJanuary 29, 2009
Yum Yum Yum. I am crazy about pumpkin. Thanks for this idea
marySeptember 21, 2011
Nicole- so glad to find this; am making it now. why does the recipe say to add the dried fruit when serving instead of after the granola cools?
JuliaOctober 6, 2011
I made this last night, then made another version again this am. This is a WONDERFUL recipe. TRY IT!!!!!
AnjaJanuary 9, 2012
I made this today and loved it. Had to make a few substitutions for lack of ingredients. Instead of the rice cereal i used Kashi Heart to Heart warm cinnamon cereal and I used a 3/4 cup of pumpkin puree and omitted the applesauce. Still absolutely delicious. Thank you
HilarySeptember 25, 2012
I made this today and can’t stop grabbing a bite every time I walk by it. Delicious. And no oil! I did add the nuts with everything else and baked about 35 minutes total and it turned out lovely and crunchy!