Pumpkin granola-feeling ambitious, oven required.

  I wasn’t sure if I should kiss my husband or kick him when he pointed this recipe out to me.  On the one hand, he knows about my weakness for all things pumpkin and knew I’d love it.  On the other hand, he knows about my weakness for all things pumpkin, and knew I wouldn’t be able to resist trying to make it.  Besides, it would be perfect for this Thanksgiving morning!

  I didn’t want to try making baked-in-the-oven granola.  I’ve been really happy with my lazy, stove top granola.  But, pumpkin is my heroin and I finally gave in.
  Here’s what you need:
HOLY lotta ingredients Batman!
  So as you’re looking at the picture of ingredients, you might notice some things missing that we normally see in granola.  Namely, a fat (butter, oil, ect) and sugar (we’ll be using maple syrup instead).  That means this is a better alternative if you’re on a diet or you just generally want to avoid fats and sugars.
  The original recipe is here.  I (of course) substituted some ingredients.  I wasn’t able to find pumpkin seeds, so I used sunflower seeds instead.  Instead of unsweetened cranberries, I used zante currants and dried cherries I already had on hand.  Other than that, I actually played along for once.  Set your oven to preheat to 325 degrees while you prep.
  First you’re going to mix your dry ingredients together.  This alone smells great and the dried fruits pick up a lot of the spices and get this wonderful dusty look.
Oooh…pretty.
  Next, mix together your wet ingredients.  Try not to have a heart attack when they have you dump 1/2 c. of expensive, high quality maple syrup in…it does actually make a difference.
  Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir like crazy.  Once everything is nicely coated, dump it all onto your parchment covered baking pan and spread it as thinly as you can.
  As a note, I’m not entirely sure what the difference between wax paper and parchment paper is.  I suspect that it’s just that the parchment paper is safe in the oven, where with wax paper, you’d get melty wax all over.  Less delicious that way I suspect.
  Your oven should be preheated to 325 by now, so stick your pan in and set a timer for 20 minutes.  Grab the mail, do some laundry or just read a little.  When the timer goes off, stir everything around on the pan so you have different parts of the granola up in the air getting nice and toasty.  Set another 20 minutes.
  Once your granola comes out of the oven, try to restrain yourself from immediately eating it.  (The extremely painful burning from 325 degree granola should be convincing enough)  Let everything cool for about 10 minutes and then dig in!
  All in all this isn’t any more difficult than the stove top version, it just takes longer.  I don’t think I’d do this in the summer, but now that the weather has turned cold, it’s actually kind of nice to have the oven on to warm up the kitchen.
  …and of course, being pumpkin, I can’t get enough of the flavor.  I love the combination with the apples too, will have to try those in some other variations.  G seems to be a fan too.
Try it out, let me know what you think.  I apologize if I convert you from the lazy way too.
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