This time of year, I love everything pumpkin–coffee, cupcakes, bread, bagels, and now, granola. Yep, granola. Healthy granola, too! Sort of. Everything but the maple syrup, anyway. And really, can’t a girl splurge during the holidays? (My holiday season officially begins when the pumpkin-fall menus enter the scene.)
I would have to answer, yes, I believe so. This granola is so delicious, you’ll want to eat it with ice cream, yogurt, or straight out of the pan. And while it’s high in fat, it’s mostly healthy fat, I can rationalize it as healthy, because pumpkin and flax seeds are so good for you. Really good.
So how do you make decadent pumpkin granola? That’s also easy. Simply mix oats and seeds, add some of what I call “granola glue” — the stuff that makes granola clumps — and bake.
Decadent Pumpkin Granola
1/2 cup pumpkin seed, natural, not salted or roasted
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
Preheat the oven to 300°F. In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, pumpkin and flax seed. Mix well. For the granola glue, mix together maple syrup, melted butter, orange zest and vanilla extract. Whisk well and pour over oat and seed mixture. Mix all ingredients until well blended. Note: this might be easier done with your hands. If you like the orange zest, go ahead and add some more. It’s a nice compliment to the maple syrup.
Cover baking sheet with foil (I like non-stick foil, especially when working with syrup) and evenly spread granola mixture out over the baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes, turning granola mix once or twice during the baking process. Add raisins, and bake for 5 minutes longer. Allow granola to cool on metal rack.
For options on this recipe, I’d toss in almonds or hazelnuts, maybe add a bit of nutmeg or fancy pumpkin spice flavoring, dare I say, chocolate? It’s all good and very tasty! Seriously. My kids took one bite and I didn’t see the granola container again.
Wanna get really crazy? Try this one-eighty spin for an unusual, interesting and delicious savory granola. Would go great over a salad, a baked potato, even sprinkled on top of a baked casserole. YUM.
Sun-dried Tomato Granola
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 TBSP red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP honey
salt, pepper & garlic powder, to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
Preheat the oven to 300°F. In a large bowl, combine rolled oats and pine nuts. Mix well. For granola glue, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic and honey. Pour over oat and seed mixture and mix all ingredients until well-blended.
Cover baking sheet with foil and evenly spread granola mixture out over the baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning granola mix once or twice during the baking process. Add cheese and tomatoes and allow granola to cool on metal rack.
Options for this one include fresh chopped rosemary (baked with granola), or basil (mixed in while cooling).