I’m just going to come right out and tell you this is the best granola I have ever made. Hot diggidy dang, it’s good.
I know, I know… Granola isn’t usually exciting, but this one is. I recognize that you may be doubting me right now, and I don’t really have a way to make you into a believer unless you make this because I don’t do that whole “better than sex granola” or anything else like that, because frankly, if you think granola (or any other food) is better than sex, I am concerned about you.
Really. Does that make me nutty? I promise you I’m not anti-sex. I mean, I DO have five sons and all…
I’m just going to have to settle for telling you that this is no ordinary granola. In fact, it’s Pretty Excellent But Not Better Than Sex Pumpkin Spice Granola. It is oats, puffed brown rice, pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), enrobed in a just-sweet-enough coating of maple syrup, real pumpkin puree, coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice, and toasted until the coating toasts and crisps around the grains. Because the granola has a goodly amount of puffed brown rice and pepitas, it has a lighter texture than many pure-oat granolas making it easier to eat handful-after-handful of the stuff. It smells so tantalizing while it bakes that I felt tempted to chew off my own leg. I didn’t, in case you’re wondering. I contented myself with snitching little clumps of the granola every fifteen minutes when I stirred it gently.
Are you wondering how you’ll eat all that granola? This recipe does yield a pretty hearty quantity of granola. Aside from a bowl with milk for breakfast, we love to put it on or layer with yogurt, sprinkle it over vanilla or pumpkin cheesecake ice cream, crush lightly and mix into oatmeal raisin cookies in place of the oats, or just eat it like trail mix. I assure you a batch disappears faster than you thought it would. In the unlikely event that -even with all of these enjoyable ways to make it scram- you find yourself with more than you can consume, scoop it into a clean canning jar, tie a ribbon around the lid, and give it as a gift to a beloved friend, a teacher or co-worker who could use a smile, or your poor UPS delivery person who keeps getting chased by your nasty-tempered rooster. No? That last one is just me?
Just make the granola, please. Pretty please? For the love of Fall?
P.S. I’m not *outraged* by the better than sex phenomenon, just perplexed. I’ll just go back to sit in my crazy corner now and munch on my Pretty Excellent But Not Better Than Sex Pumpkin Spice Granola.
- 10 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 cups unsweetened puffed rice (preferably brown)
- 2 cups raw pepitas
- ½ cup coconut oil or butter
- 1½ cups (or a 15 ounce can) pumpkin puree. (NOT pie filling)
- 2 cups pure Grade B (the dark stuff) maple syrup OR dark caro syrup
- 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
- 1½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- non-stick cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Lightly spray 2 half sheet pans (13-inch by 18-inch by ½-inch) with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss together the oats, puffed rice, and pepitas. In the work carafe of a blender, blend together the coconut oil or butter, pumpkin puree, maple syrup or caro syrup, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice on HIGH until smooth. Pour over the oat mixture, stir until evenly coated and there are no dry pockets, then divide between the two pans, pressing the mixture down evenly over the pans clear to the edges.
- Bake for an hour, removing the pans every 15 minutes, and gently inserting a spatula under the granola mixture and carefully flipping it over in sections to keep some clumps in the mixture. Be sure to turn the center part over as well. Every other time, be sure to put the granola from the edges into the center and move the center toward the edges to evenly toast the mixture. After an hour, if there is still steam rising from the mixture when you stir it, you should lower the oven heat to 300°F and continue toasting it (still stirring every 15 minutes) until it feels dry to the touch or a piece left on the counter to cool is crisp when bitten into.
- If you are using the optional cranberries, stir them into the granola as soon as you are done toasting it. Let the granola cool completely before transferring to jars or other containers with tight fitting lids. This granola, when properly stored, will stay good and crisp for up to three weeks at room temperature. If it starts softening, you can retoast it briefly in a low oven.