Thursday, October 27, 2011
Pepita Granola and Pumpkin Butter
If you like granola, you're in for a treat for today's post! I daresay that this has become my favorite granola...ever...I think. I first discovered it last fall, when I fell in love with it. Then I waited all the way until this fall to make it again, don't ask my why. Maybe because it seems strange to eat pumpkin other than during pumpkin season.
I usually eat my granola on top of some plain yogurt, but I couldn't resist mixing it together with some pumpkin butter to take it over the top. If you've never heard of or had pumpkin butter, it's pretty similar to apple butter in that you let it cook down with some sugar and spices. It's very easy to make and very tasty, but you only need a dollop because it packs a spice-packed punch.
If you have a hard time finding the nuts and dried fruit that you want, try shopping where they have a bulk foods section. I usually buy all my ingredients to make any kind of granola from the bulk section at my local WinCo. They are also less expensive there as well and you can just buy the quantity that you want.
You can also experiment with dried fruit by drying your own, especially if you have a dehydrator. I like to buy boxes of fruit, in season, to can and dry to use throughout the rest of the year. This year I got about 40 lbs. of delicious pears; you wouldn't believe how yummy they are dried! I'll hopefully be doing apples soon as well.
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup crisp rice cereal
1/4 cup ground flax seed (optional)
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups nuts and seeds (I used about 1/2 cup each of sliced almonds, chopped walnuts, and green (hulled) pumpkin seeds-not roasted)
2-3 cups mixed dried fruit (I used pears and cranberries; you could also use apricots, cherries, raisins, apples, figs, or whatever else you want.)
1/4 cup coconut oil (or other oil)
1/4 cup mild honey
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 - 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 - 1 tsp. cinnamon
splash of vanilla
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, cereal, flax meal, coconut and nuts. In a microwave safe bowl, gently melt the oil and honey; add the sugar, applesauce, cinnamon, salt and vanilla and stir until incorporated. Pour over the dry mixture and stir until it's evenly coated.
Spread granola over two cookie sheets and bake about 15-25 minutes, until lightly golden, stirring every 5 minutes. Stir in dried fruit. Let granola cool completely and store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin, or about 3 1/2 cups fresh pumpkin puree
3/4 cup apple juice
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Juice of half a lemon
Combine pumpkin, apple juice, spices, and sugar in a large saucepan; stir well. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until thickened. Stir frequently. Adjust spices to taste. Stir in lemon juice, or more to taste.
Once cool, pumpkin butter can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge
SOURCE: Adapted from Smitten Kitchen