Pumpkin Flax Granola

Celebrating Pumpkins

This week, Flour and Fancy is featuring a celebration of pumpkin.  Recipes that include pumpkin are fall favorites, and there’s no better time of the year to hail this orange behemoth.  This isn’t the first time pumpkin recipes have been featured on Flour and Fancy – the spiced pumpkin bread recipe from September is delicious!  Now, we’re featuring two recipes that center on pumpkin and pumpkin flavors.  And first up, granola that integrates pumpkin seeds and pumpkin pie spice.  Yum!

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I have been a long-time commercial granola purchaser.  I find myself constantly enticed by the bulk food section of the grocery, specifically when I see the visually stunning granolas filling the clear containers with their plastic handles ready to release the grain and fruit goodness.  I’ve purchased and tried it all – coconut and almond granola, vanilla and cherry granola, nutty granola, cranberry and pecan granola, pumpkin spice granola.

Most of these purchases have occurred during time out of town.  I live in a rural area where my favorite grocery stores are at a distance.  My local grocery lacks the bulk section that I so adore, and the granola available is typically prepackaged in thick plastic bags and doesn’t contain those large clusters of whole grain goodness that I so adore.  Sure, I’ll by that product in a pinch, but it just – well, it isn’t the same.

It finally occurred to me that the granola I see in the distant grocery stores I so adore is just a few steps away in my own kitchen.  Over time and multiple blend experimentation, I found the granola for me.  And today I find it it not in a plastic container along a shelf but at home, in a large, hand-labeled glass canister.

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While I still love that jaunt along the aisles of my favorite grocery stores, I have to admit, my granola is just as good.  Maybe better.

This granola blend is an ode to fall.  Pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin seeds usher in an edible season that can only be described as the taste of autumn.

Combine this granola with your favorite dairy, soy, or almond milk or yogurt.  It makes a great parfait!  When I’m focusing on my waistline, I like to omit the fruit in a portion and use this granola as a simulated pie crust with a delicious greek yogurt on top – it’s my favorite way to get the key lime pie experience without the calories, fat, and “ugh, I shouldn’t have eaten that!” guilt.

Pumpkin Flax Granola

Ingredients

3 cups Bob’s Red Mill™ 5 Grain Rolled Hot Cereal
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 large beaten egg white
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cups shelled pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Optional:
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Combine all ingredients except cherries and cranberries in a large bowl.  Toss to combine.
  3. Spread mixture on a large baking sheet.
  4. Bake granola for approximately 40 minutes.  Stir periodically during baking.  (This is crucial!)
  5. Remove from oven when very dry and golden brown.
  6. Allow to cool on baking sheet.  The granola to continue to crisp as it cools.
  7. Once cooled, combine with the dried fruit if you choose to include.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

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Baking Notes:

After having tried different versions of this granola, I’ve found that the combination of dried cranberries and cherries adds the perfect punch to this recipe.  However, if you’re not a fan of one or both of these dried berries, choose something that does ring your bell.  Raisins are a good substitute for either.  You can also remove the fruit entirely.  (Personally, I add the fruit on a serving-by-serving basis so that I can enjoy it both ways, with and without fruit.)

I highly recommend using Bob’s Red Mill™ Grain Rolled Hot Cereal for this recipe.  This whole grain blend adds flax seed to the recipe – which brings with it added nutrition – and creates a heightened texture experience.  And the taste is great!  However, if you choose not to use this product, substitute two and a half cups of old fashioned rolled oats and one-half cup flax seed.

Pecans are a softer nut. If you prefer a crunchier texture, opt for almonds instead. I liked the texture mix and opted to stick with pecans, my favorite nut.

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