My most peaceful time is sitting on my balcony enjoying the mountains, sky, birds, and my kitties, while eating breakfast and sipping coffee. Fresh peaches and strawberries, homemade yogurt sweetened with maple syrup, and granola mixed together, along with chai spice, is my favorite breakfast. It is an important ritual for my mental well-being. Days that I am too busy to sit on the balcony end up frustrating for me. During the long, hot summer I try to time it to sit on the balcony at sunset. But I will try to not think of the coming heat and just enjoy the present with its perfect 70 degree spring weather.
Growing up, we had homemade, honey-sweetened granola, but I did not continue making it or eating it much after I moved out. Several years ago I started buying granola in the bulk section at Sprouts, but the prices went up so much that I quit buying it. I started making my own granola in the last couple years when I went off sugar and gluten. It is really quite easy to make and it lasts me about a month. Pumpkin spice is definitely my favorite granola. Chocolate cherry is a second favorite.
This granola recipe is adapted from King Arthur Baking. I changed it to make it with honey instead of brown sugar. For me, granola must have coconut. It also has more nuts and spices. I prefer granola without dried fruit because the fruit always dries out more and becomes hard or overly chewy. Choose certified gluten-free oats if that is necessary. If you cannot have dairy, it will not hurt to leave out the dry milk powder. Weighing the ingredients makes this all the easier to whip together. While it seems like it takes a long time in the oven, it is easy to be working nearby and stir every 15 minutes. It seems to develop more yummy clumps if I do not stir for the first half hour in the oven. Feel free to double the recipe and bake in two sheets if you would like.
PUMPKIN SPICE GRANOLA
- 3 cups rolled oats (267 grams)
- 1 cup diced pecans (110 grams)
- 1/2 cup sunflower seed or pumpkin seeds (65 grams)
- 1 cup flaked coconut (86 grams)
- 1/4 cup flaxseeds (35 grams)
- 1/4 cup instant dry milk powder (28 grams)
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds (43 grams)
- 1 cup pumpkin puree (227 grams)
- 1/2 cup honey (168 grams)
- 2 tablespoons molasses (43 grams), optional
- 1/2 cup coconut or vegetable oil (99 grams)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- Optional diced crystallized ginger, dates, or raisins, 1/2 – 1 cup
Preheat the oven to 300° F. Grease a large rimmed baking sheet (13×18 inches), or line with parchment.
Weigh or measure the oats, nuts, seeds, coconut, and dry milk in a large mixing bowl and mix together. In a large (1 quart or more) measuring cup, mix together the pumpkin, honey, molasses, oil, salt and spices. (Melt the coconut oil if not liquified. I warm the coconut oil and honey in the microwave first to make it easier to mix.). Pour the liquid ingredients over the oat mixture in the large bowl. Stir to evenly coat and moisten the granola all together.
Spread the granola evenly across the greased baking sheet and bake for 90 minutes. Stir after 30 minutes and then stir every 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely in the pan.
If using dried fruit, pour granola into a large mixing bowl and stir in dried fruit and crystallized ginger.
Transfer granola to an airtight container and store at room temperature for a few weeks. Or, store extra granola in a freezer bag in the freezer for a few months.