granola bars lately.... But this is my first time making good, ol' fashioned granola.
I saw a recipe for Pumpkin Spice Granola last year on The Baker Chick. I thought it sounded good but in all the hubbub that is the holidays, I never got around to making it. This year I'm starting the pumpkin goodness early, partly to give my readers time to try it themselves and partly because I love pumpkin and usually don't get enough of it before the holidays are over.
As usual, I wasn't content with the recipe as-is and decided to tweak it a bit. I wanted some Rice Krispies and sliced almonds mixed in for variety. I've also changed the cooking directions a bit, more closely following this similar recipe. And if you want to "walk on the wild side" and try cooking your granola in a slow cooker (yes, it can be done!), try following these directions.
PUMPKIN SPICE GRANOLA
adapted from The Baker Chick
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups crisp rice cereal
2 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice*
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/4 cup applesauce (not chunky)
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds, optional
1/4 cup pepitas, optional
1/2 cup sweetened, dried cranberries, optional
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine oats and rice cereal. In a medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin pie spice, salt, brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, maple syrup, and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into the oat mixture and stir until evenly coated. Evenly spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove pan from oven and stir the granola. Sprinkle with almonds and pepitas, if using. Bake for 10 minutes more or until granola is golden. Depending on the size of your pan and the thickness of your granola layer, the center may not dry as quickly and you may need to remove the outer edges to cool on waxed paper and bake the center another few minutes until it's done. Cool in pan or on waxed paper. Break up granola as desired and store in an airtight container.
*If you don't have pumpkin pie spice, you can use 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ginger, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, 1/8 tsp. cloves