I’ve lived in places where fall is fleeting. At first sight of one yellow leaf in Central Oregon, I would fall myself – into a preemptive winter depression, knowing that we were in for 6 months of cold, icy days. North Carolina, however, has 4 legitimate seasons, and fall lasts a glorious 2-3 months, during which the rolling hills become sprinkled with color (“Like a pack of Lifesavers,” according to Grant) and the humidity blows away, but the hard chill hasn’t taken hold.
Many people head to the Blue Ridge Parkway to enjoy the foliage-gasm around us. We head to the mountains, too, and enjoy the smell of burning hickory logs and my pumpkin spice granola, punctuated with sweet fruit and crunchy nuts and seeds.
I baked this granola twice as long as it called for because I like really toasted granola – but don’t break your jaw, remember that the granola hardens as it cools. A wonderful, healthy fall breakfast…
Adapted from The Pastry Affair.
Pumpkin Spice Granola
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 T pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups old fashioned oats
- 1 1/2 c. mixed dried fruit and nuts (I used almonds, cranberries, pumpkin seeds and soy beans)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract and salt. Stir in the brown sugar and maple syrup until smooth. Add the oats, fruit, nuts and seeds, stirring until granola is evenly coated.
Spread out evenly on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes and stir the granola around. Bake for an additional 30-40 min, or to your desired doneness, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.
We spooned the warm granola over cool Greek yogurt and the mix of temperatures was nice.
Then we went out and looked at the prettiness – and the Christmas tree farms!
Deck view: Sunrise on our last day…
Hope everyone is having a great fall. Enjoy, friends! xoxo