Autumn Granola

To conclude my series of breakfast recipes, I had to share this seasonal take on my favorite granola recipe. The addition of pumpkin, spices, pecans and dried cranberries make this granola a perfect Thanksgiving-season breakfast. The pumpkin lends a lovely golden hue to the oats while the red gems of cranberries add a nice holiday touch. Tomorrow begins my series of Thanksgiving comparisons and I’ll be concentrating on popular side dishes this year, so stay tuned for some last-minute Thanksgiving meal tips. I’ll start off by suggesting that you try out this granola for a healthy breakfast to start off the holiday season!

Autumn Granola

Makes about 6 cups

Ingredients:

1 18 ounce container old-fashioned oats (about 5 cups)

1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped or whole (I chop my very small to prevent my toddler from choking)

1/4 cup olive oil

3 Tablespoons melted butter

1 heaping Tablespoon plain  canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice OR 1/8 teaspoon each:  ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, and ground cloves

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large baking pan, mix the oats and pecans together until well-blended. Place oat mixture in the preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes. Pay close attention toward the end of baking as the nuts have a tendency to burn quickly.

2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, whisk together the oil, butter, pumpkin, syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, and spices. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, just until mixture begins to bubble. Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Once the oats and nuts are beginning to brown, pour the pumpkin mixture over them and stir well to combine. Bake another 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often, or until the oats are a deep golden brown. Remove the granola from the oven and set aside to cool. Once the granola has cooled completely, stir in the cranberries and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.