From the familiar fall flavors of pumpkin, pecans, and oats to the warm and welcoming spices perfuming the air as the mixture bakes, this granola truly embodies the season.
It’s also a great recipe for bringing the family together in the kitchen. After the pumpkin mixture comes off the heat, my three-year-old loves to dump the dry ingredients into the saucepan and vigorously stir it all together. Breaking the cooled granola into pieces is a hit with the little ones as well.
While the recipe is fairly simple, keep in mind that there is a fine line between crisp granola and burnt granola. Spreading out the mixture in as thin and even a layer as possible is key. Since ovens can be quite variable and temperamental, use the specified cooking times as a guideline, but be sure to peek in on the granola—especially after increasing the heat to 400—to make sure you don’t scorch your pecans.
The sprinkling of salt and sugar over the top is completely optional. I think it brings out the best flavor and adds a touch of interest to the texture; plus it gives you something to do while the oven is coming up to the higher cooking temperature.
I adore the combination of pumpkin and Chinese 5 spice powder (typically a mix of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fennel, and black pepper), but you could absolutely substitute pumpkin-pie spice if you prefer.
A perfect addition to a homemade-goody basket or care package, the granola travels well and keeps up to two weeks, tightly sealed at room temperature. Make it as a breakfast cereal, yogurt topping, or fireside snack for you and those you are thankful for.
Pumpkin Spice Granola Recipe:
• 1/3 cup coconut oil
• 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
• 1 cup pumpkin puree
• 1 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder (I use The Spice Hunter brand)
• 1 tsp ground cassia or cinnamon
• 1 tsp kosher salt
• 2 cups old-fashioned oats (not steel-cut or instant)
• 1 cup chopped pecans
• 1/3 cup golden flax seeds
• 1/2 cup toasted, salted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
• Pinches each of kosher salt and granulated sugar for sprinkling, if desired
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and line an 18-x-13-inch (or larger) rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a reusable silicone mat.
2. In a medium-sized saucepan whisk together the coconut oil, brown sugar, and pumpkin puree until well-mixed, and cook over medium-to-medium-low heat just until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture begins to boil — about 5 minutes.
3. Off the heat, use a rubber spatula to stir in the salt and spices and then the remaining ingredients.
4. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking sheet, using the spatula to spread out and flatten the mixture as much as possible without touching the edges of the pan.
5. Using the flat tip of the spatula, make a series of dashes across the mixture (about every three inches or so). This will help the mixture cook evenly and break apart more easily when cooled.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, rotating pan halfway through if necessary.
7. Remove the pan from the oven and increase heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
8. Sprinkle just a pinch each of kosher salt and a granulated sugar over the top (if desired) and cook an additional 10 to 12 minutes.
9. Allow the granola to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before carefully transferring the parchment or silicone mat to a cooling rack to cool completely.
10. Once completely cool, use your hands to transfer the granola into an airtight container, breaking it into irregular pieces as you go (larger pieces are great for snacking; smaller pieces make the best cereal or yogurt topping). If the granola is not quite crisp when completely cool, place back on the baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure it does not burn.
Morgan Crumm is a mother, blogger, recipe-developer, and real-food advocate based in Dallas, TX. More of her work can be found at BeingTheSecretIngredient.com, a blog about food, life, and love.
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