Friday, November 07, 2014


This recipe is ideal for the time of year I always complain about, when the rest of the nation wraps up in wooly sweaters and sips hot cider while Southern California swelters into November. This year has been particularly brutal, leading me to spend long hours staring into my closet, wondering why I even bother owning long-sleeved clothing. Craving pumpkin-spice flavor while breaking a sweat at the thought of anything served above room temperature doesn’t leave much room for fall treats. One day, dreaming wistfully of steaming pumpkin baked oatmeal while it was plainly still granola weather, I thought, “Is there such a thing as pumpkin granola?”

I shouldn’t have even questioned it; I think the second rule of the Internet must be that there is a pumpkin variation of every possible foodstuff. (The first rule is something to do with cat videos.) I found a number of candidates but couldn’t settle on one; some looked too sweet, others didn’t contain much actual pumpkin. Then, the very day I was drawing up my grocery list, Budget Bytes published exactly what I was looking for. Well, almost exactly—I did swap in coconut oil for vegetable oil, maple syrup for honey, my own spice blend for pumpkin pie spice, and pecans for sunflower seeds. I left out the cranberries because I wasn’t in the mood for dried fruit, but might have added some pepitas if I had them, for a double hit of pumpkin power. However you choose to approach it, the result is an orange-hued, clustery granola with real pumpkin spice flavor that makes for a delicious autumnal breakfast treat. This was the first time I’d deviated from my go-to granola recipe in 10 years, but I’m glad I made room in my life for a seasonal alternative.

1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup (preferably Grade B)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon salt
6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup chopped pecans (pepitas would also be good here)
½ cup dried cranberries, chopped (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, oil, maple syrup, vanilla, spices, and salt. Stir and cook over medium-low heat for 3 to 5 minutes, or until mixture is heated through and the sugar has dissolved.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the dry oats, pecans, and pumpkin mixture. Stir very well (mixing with your hands works best) until the oats are evenly coated with pumpkin and there are no dry oats left in the bottom of the bowl.
  4. Spread the oat mixture over two baking sheets covered with parchment paper. Bake the oats in the preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes, or until they are mostly dry, stirring every 15 minutes.
  5. Once the oats are finished cooking, sprinkle in the chopped cranberries if desired, stir, then let cool completely. Once cool, store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Serves: About 8
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Leftover potential: Good.