The Pumpkin Spice Granola

I am about to say something that might not sit well with everybody.

I hate dislike pumpkin pie. There, I said it! It is out in the open, made public for the world to read.

Let me explain myself. First, I did not grow up with pie, any kind of pie. My dessert of choice will always be chocolate ice cream. Second, pumpkin pie is texturally boring and not very sexy (I know, neither is chocolate ice cream). Third, pumpkin pie has become an icon of Thanksgiving. While it is enjoyed once (maybe twice) a year, when the time to actually eat the pie comes around, people are too stuffed from three servings of turkey, cranberry sauce, and stuffing to actually appreciate it.

Nonetheless, I believe that pumpkin pie is one of America’s most daring foods when it comes to the combination of flavors.  It is one of the only desserts that unabashed uses a lot of spices. I mean, where else have you seen, in American culture, the simultaneous use of ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg? That is a lot of amazingly delicious, and un-boring combination of spices! It is almost exotic, and definitely brilliant! Pumpkin pie’s intention is to be bold, but it falls flat in its delivery.

I want to make a case for pumpkin spice, but it will be delivered through a different, yet familiar format. A format you can actually enjoy every day, without having to stuff yourself first. One that is texturally complex, while still holding on to the one thing that makes pumpkin spice special: spice!

I present you the most delicious granola you will ever taste in your life: The Pumpkin Spice Granola. This granola is sexy and bold. It is crunchy, and soft, and delicate. It is hearty and will leave you satisfied and full of good, sustained energy. It is sweet and warm and spicy. This Pumpkin Spice Granola will blow your socks off.

Made using almonds, walnuts, cashews, and pumpkin seeds, this granola is grain free. It requires a lot of patience, and a lot of time, but the outcome is truly special. You will have to soak some nuts, and bake them at a very low temperature for significant amount of time. Then you have to let the granola cool completely before you can savor one of America’s boldest flavor combinations.

Pumpkin Spice Granola

Makes about 4 cups

Cook time: 3.5 hours 

  • 1 ½ cup raw cashew
  • 1 ½ cups raw walnuts
  • ½ cup almonds
  • ½ cup pumpkin seed
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin
  • ¼ cup palm sugar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp. raw local honey
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Place 1 cup of the cashews and 1 cup of the walnut is a large bowl, pour 2 cups of filtered water over the nuts and let soak for 4-6 hours, or overnight.  Drain and rinse, then place in a food processor. Pulse until finely ground, about two to three five second pulses. It should resemble a rough meal. Transfer into a large bowl.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Place pumpkin, sugar, maple syrup, honey, oil, salt, and spices on a small saucepan over very low heat. Stir until everything is blended together. Pour pumpkin spice mix over the ground nuts. Add the remaining cashews, walnuts, almonds, and pumpkin seeds. Mix until everything is evenly covered. Transfer onto a large baking sheet and evenly spread onto a thin layer. Bake, mixing the granola every 20-30 minutes, for three hours and a half hours.  You want to make sure that the granola does not burn. Understand your oven’s temperature range and adjust as necessary. I recommend keeping an eye on how the granola is cooking every time you stir it around the baking sheet. My oven cooks certain parts faster than others, so I have to pay particular attention to it. Once the three hours have passed remove from the oven and let cool completely. Transfer to a tight sealed container. Should keep for 2 weeks.

Serve over yogurt, ice cream, or with milk!