Is it a bit too early for pumpkin talk? Because am back from our holiday (AKA: my sister’s wedding was no holiday) and I can’t wait to embrace Fall & start making/crafting ALL things pumpkin. Am dreaming about pumpkin donuts, muffins, raw cheesecake, smoothies & granola. How does that sound? So yep, we’re starting the pumpkin party with this harvest inspired granola that has pumpkin, chocolate, pecans, cranberries, almonds & hemp hearts. Pretty much everything, but the kitchen sink.
But before we talk food I just want to say something quick: thank you SO much to all who expressed their well wishes over the past month. My sister was a drop-dead gorgeous, blushing bride and her wedding was really something special. A raucous celebration of friends and family that danced well until the sun came up. Although I must confess she did drive me a little (actually, more than a little) crazy; especially the last two weeks leading up to the big day. She got her bridezilla on. But then again, I only have one sister. And she’ll only get married once. Because she truly married her soulmate.
Time to talk granola now…. You guys, this is one of the easiest recipes you’ll ever undertake because quite literally you’re just mixing in a bowl, pressing down on a baking sheet and then… baking (obviously). The ingredients are super basic and you can easily customize them to your liking. So for example, if you don’t like my choice of dry cranberries; you can try subbing mulberries or golden raisins. If you don’t like pecans or almonds, you could try using brazil nuts or walnuts. You get the idea. My topping ingredients are not set in stone; throw in whatever you like best.
This takes about 30 minutes to bake, and when it cools down completely we add the final topping… any guesses on what this last ingredient may be? If you guessed chocolate, you’ve probably made granola before. One has to wait for it to completely cool before throwing in those awesome chunks or chips so that they don’t melt. You see; the winning aspect about granola is texture. And this recipe has plenty of texture. It’s got crunchy, it’s got chewy, it’s got clusters, it’s got sweet, it’s got salty and it has this amazing pumpkin spice undertone across it all. Must. Try. This.
Oh, & I must remind you this deliciously easy granola is gluten-free, dairy-free & refined-sugar free. I love it over dairy-free coconut or almond yogurt, over almond or cashew milk, and most recently- sprinkled over gluten free toast that has been lathered on with yogurt. See above. Do try this at home!
- 2 plus 3/4 cups of oats (I use Bob’s Red Mill Old Fashioned Rolled-Oats)
- 3 tbsp of hemp hearts
- 3/4 cup of raw or roasted almonds
- 3/4 cup raw or roasted pecans
- 3/4 cup of dry cranberries (you could also do dry mulberries, golden raisins or cherries)
- 1/3 cup of raw or roasted pepitas or pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup dairy free (or regular) dark chocolate chunks or chips
- 1/4 cup of coconut oil
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup of organic, canned pumpkin puree
- 3 tbsp of organic coconut sugar
- 1/4 tsp of sea salt (if you use roasted,salted nuts don’t add sea salt)
- 1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg (optional)
- 1/3 cup of pure maple syrup (you could also use coconut nectar, date syrup, or agave)
- Preheat your oven to 325 F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (if you only have 1 baking sheet, you’ll have to do a second batch)
- In a large bowl, combine your dry ingredients: hemp hearts, nuts, cranberries, oats, coconut sugar, sea salt, nutmeg & cinnamon. All except for the chocolate. That goes in last!
- In a small sauce pan, warm up the pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, coconut oil, & maple syrup.
- Pour wet ingredients onto the dry ingredient bowl. Use clean hands or a large wooden spoon to give it a good toss.
- The mixture is enough to cover one baking sheet entirely and almost a second one. The granola must be spread evenly on both sheets and I like to press down with clean hands. I don’t stir the granola once it’s in the oven, I like to end up with chunky clusters.
- Bake at this low temp for about 30 minutes, always remembering to rotate the sheet halfway through. Once the granola starts turning a nice, golden brown- it’s time. Depending on your oven, this could take up to 40 mins.
- Allow the granola to cool completely and then you can break it into clusters. Once it’s broken down into clusters, I sprinkle the chocolate chips or chunks and voila… it’s ready to eat, jar, gift or gorge. You decide. Incredibly delicious!