Sunday, December 2, 2012

Pumpkin Pecan Granola

I eat a lot of granola. Yogurt topped with granola is my breakfast a couple times a week, and because of the huge variety of granola that can be made or purchased, I never tire of it. That being said, this has to be the best granola I've ever made. It had me from the word pumpkin in the title, but sold me even more when I came to the words maple syrup in the recipe. All too often this time of year, I get lured to products that merely use pumpkin spice and not actual pumpkin, but this granola uses both with great success. The pumpkin flavor is definitely present, if subtle, its sweetness playing perfectly with that from the maple syrup. Sesame seeds, which I've only starting using them in my granolas recently, provide a contrasting richness and toastiness that complements the same elements from the pecans. Raisins deliver exactly what you expect, sweetness and chewiness, and complete the flavor profile. Sweet, toasty, crunchy, and delicious, I can't imagine a happier companion to my yogurt. Want a more delectable treat? This granola also makes a splendid couple with vanilla ice cream.

Pumpkin Pecan Granola
adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen
makes about 3 cups

2 1/2 tablespoons canola or extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher or sea salt
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup maple syrup, preferably Grade B
1/3 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup raw pecan pieces
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/2 cup crimson or golden raisins or dried cranberries

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, and pumpkin puree and whisk to combine. Add the oats, pecans, and sesame seeds and stir until evenly coated.

3. Spread the mixture on the baking sheet, keeping some of the cluster of oats and nuts intact so that the finished granola will have some chunks. Bake the granola, stirring every so often by scooping the  mixture from the edges of the pan toward the middle and spreading it evenly again, until dry and light brown in color, 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the granola to cool a few minutes. Add the raisins and toss to mix. Add another pinch or two of salt if needed. Cool completely before storing. Store in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks.

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