Around this time of the year, my brother-in-law’s family comes to stay with us. They always bring us oranges from Peter’s parents’ yard, home baked Christmas cakes and granola. This year, they brought us the most delicious pumpkin spiced granola, which we have been eating for breakfast, snack and dinner.
I imagine my sister-in-law in their kitchen, measuring, weighing, mixing, turning the granola every 15 minutes with a spatula, tasting… You can’t buy this in a store with money.
When I was a child, my father would occasionally bring home gifts from his patients — sweet rice cakes, peanuts, ham, live chickens or salted duck eggs… In those days of scarcity, food expressed one’s gratitude more than anything else in the world. My parents would in turn re-gift the live chicken and the ham to the artist who gave my brother free drawing lessons or the swim coach who let us use the pool during off hours. My brother and I were always forlorn every time the food was given away.
Nowadays, I get to actually eat the food from the gift bags. This crunchy granola can be enjoyed in so many different ways. I served it on top of my yam casserole as a side dish for dinner and everyone loved it. You can bake the yam casserole before sprinkle a layer of the granola on top, or you can simply make an instant casserole by mashing the cooked yam with the ingredients and top it with the granola.
Crunchy Pumpkin Spiced Granola
- 3 and 3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut
- 2/3 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (or vegetable oil)
- 3 Tablespoons packed dark brown sugar (or light brown)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 325F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Set aside. In a large bowl, toss the oats, coconut, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt together until combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites for about 1 minute. Whisk in the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, brown sugar, and vanilla until smooth and combined. Pour over dry ingredients and mix until everything is moistened. Spread onto two baking sheets and bake each batch for 40 minutes, making sure to stir the granola every 10-15 minutes to prevent burning. Allow granola to cool for 20 minutes on the baking sheets. This will help it get crunchier. Pour into a large bowl and add the dried cranberries. Cover tightly and store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Granola will lose its crunch overtime because of the pumpkin.
This wonderful granola recipe is from Sally’s Baking Addition.