Pumpkin Spice Granola

Granola is a great alternative to traditional cold cereal, but also serves as a hearty snack or a versatile crunchy topping for yogurt or oatmeal. With a drizzle of maple syrup and a dollop of creme fraiche, it becomes dessert.

This granola has a warm spiciness and toastiness, and the mahogany syrup adds sweetness with a hint of bitter molasses to keep it interesting. If you want it less sweet, swap unsweetened coconut for sweetened. This granola would also love some pecans (but not for us, with my youngest’s tree nut allergy) in lieu of some of the pumpkinseeds, and dried cranberries or cherries could be exchanged for a few dates to add a pop of color.

Swept up in a clear bag and a pretty ribbon, this would make an ideal holiday or hostess gift.

Pumpkin Spice Granola

4 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup raw pumpkinseeds
1 cup sweetened coconut
1/2 cup neutral vegetable oil (I used safflower)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (here’s my version)
1/4 tsp fine salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 T mild molasses
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
2 cups chopped dates
pumpkinseed oil, for drizzling (optional)

In large bowl, combine oats, pumpkinseeds, and coconut. In small bowl, whisk together oil, maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, salt, vanilla, molasses, and pumpkin puree. Add syrup mixture to oats, and combine well. Spread evenly on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Place on rack in center of oven, and bake until lightly golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and stir in chopped dates. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to a week. Enjoy plain, as a yogurt topping, or with milk as cereal. Drizzle with a ribbon of pumpkinseed oil to amp up the toasty, nutty flavor.

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