Pumpkin Pie Granola

Pumpkin Pie Granola

Pumpkin Pie Granola

 

I got the brilliant idea for this Pumpkin Pie Granola recipe came from a lovely attendee at one of the food workshops I held earlier this year.

I used my Crunchy Maple Banana Granola as a topping for a chia pudding recipe I demonstrated, and everyone commented on what a great idea it was to use banana as the whole food sweetener for the granola.

At the end of the workshop a lovely lady came up to tell me she used pumpkin to sweeten her granola and it was so good she often ate it straight as a trail mix!

Ever since that fortunate evening I’ve been meaning to try out the idea, but it wasn’t until I saw all the Halloween pumpkins about recently that it occurred to me a pumpkin pie spiced granola would be pretty fabulous!

This granola recipe is reminiscent of a mildly spiced, slightly healthier version of a pumpkin pie. Because it’s sweetened with pumpkin and only a small amount of pure maple syrup, it’s not an overly sweet granola and the sweetness will vary depending on the type of pumpkin you use. I chose to use a butternut squash for this recipe, as it has a slightly sweeter flavour than the other pumpkins that were available, and when pureed it gives a nice smooth texture.

By using pumpkin puree to sweeten this granola you gain the benefits of the inherent antioxidants and vitamins present in this humble vegetable.

Pumpkins contain high amounts of vitamins A and C, which are great for eye health, skin and immunity. They’re rich in carotenoids which gives them their orange colour, and particularly beta-carotene which also converts to vitamin A in the body. They’re also a great source of fibre and potassium.

So when combined with oats, coconut, cashews and pecans, this granola makes for a very nourishing breakfast!

Serve this pumpkin pie granola with your choice of milk (I’m loving Little Islands drinking coconut milk at the moment) and a generous dollop of yoghurt (check out Raglan Coconut Yoghurt for THE best coconut yoghurt I have tasted to date!).

This granola is also great as a topping for fruit or ice cream, or simply eaten by the handful like a trail mix. 

Enjoy!

 

Pumpkin Pie Granola

Pumpkin Pie Granola

Makes: 1 large jar / approximately 6 cups
Prep time: 30 minutes  Bake time: 1 hour

2 cups cooked pumpkin puree
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp himalayan pink salt
3 cups oats
2 cups coconut thread
1 cup cashews
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

To make the pumpkin puree, preheat your oven to 180ºC fan bake. Cut the pumpkin into quarters (leaving the skin on) and place on a baking sheet. Spread a little coconut oil over the flesh and place in the centre of the oven to cook for approximately 30 minutes.

The pumpkin is cooked when you can easily cut the flesh with a butter knife. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Turn the oven down to 150ºC fan bake.  When the pumpkin is cool enough to handle, you should find the pumpkin skin easily peels away from the flesh. Either use a hand masher or food processor to puree the pumpkin flesh.

Measure 2 cups of pumpkin puree and combine it with the maple syrup, spices, salt and melted coconut oil. This can either be done in a bowl by hand or in a food processor. You’re aiming for a smooth spiced pumpkin paste.

In a large bowl combine the oats, coconut, cashews, pecans and pumpkin seeds. Add the spiced pumpkin paste and the best way to combine it all is to roll up your sleeves and use clean hands to rub it all together in the same way you would make a crumble topping or scones. Aim to rub all the pumpkin paste into the oat mix so that the mixture resembles a chunky crumble topping.

Spread the pumpkin pie granola onto lined baking trays and place in the oven for approximately 40 minutes. When opening the oven beware of escaping steam from the pumpkin as it continues to cook. Check occasionally and stir if it looks like the edge areas are cooking faster.

The granola is ready when it has turned a yellow golden brown and started to crunch up. It may still be a little soft when you remove it from the oven but should crunch up on cooling. If not, simply return to the oven for another 10 minutes or so.

Store the pumpkin pie granola in airtight containers in your pantry for up to a month.

 

Pumpkin Pie Granola

Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola (Oat free)

Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola (Oat free)

Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola (Oat free) by swoonfood.com

 

 

This maple and cinnamon buckwheat granola is what I eat for breakfast most mornings and is essentially the oat and banana free version of the crunchy maple banana granola (what Nick eats most mornings!). I couldn’t find a really delicious muesli or granola that was completely gluten free or not full of weird corn flakey things or added sugar, so I started making my own.

Buckwheat groats are a great oat substitute, especially for a granola style muesli. They’re completely gluten free and are packed full of plant protein and dietary fibre. From there I’ll usually add whatever nuts I have in the pantry, such as almonds, brazils and pecans. Pumpkin seeds and whole flaxseed are great protein and fibre sources, and add to the granola crunch. For flavour I use ground cinnamon, ginger, coconut and vanilla powder, with a little pure maple syrup for sweetness although this can be left out. After baking I’ll throw in some dried fruits like cherries, blueberries and cranberries (ideally sugar free if you can find them).

This granola is super easy to make, the hardest part is waiting for it to come out of the oven as it smells so good! When stored in an airtight container this granola will last for weeks, however, you’ll probably eat it way before then! It’s also great as a snack eaten straight from the jar or sprinkled over the top of a smoothie bowl or chia pudding. Enjoy!

 

Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola (Oat free) by swoonfood.com

 

Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola (Oat free)

Makes: 1 large jar

2 cups of buckwheat groats, soaked 2-4 hours
1 cup raw almonds (dried & activated if you have time – see note below)
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup whole flaxseed
1 cup desiccated coconut
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla powder
pinch himalayan pink salt
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (see note below)
100g dried super fruits such as cherries, cranberries & blueberries

Soak the buckwheat for 2-4 hours. This part isn’t optional as the buckwheat groats need to absorb some water so that they don’t go crazy hard after cooking and break your teeth! The soaking also makes them easier to digest so it’s win win. After soaking the groats wash them very thoroughly as they let off a mucilaginous substance which you want to remove completely.

Next combine the well drained buckwheat groats in a large mixing bowl with everything except the pure maple syrup and dried fruit. Stir well to combine and then add the maple syrup, again stirring well to ensure it’s evenly mixed.

Spoon the granola mix onto two lined oven trays and fan bake at 100ºC for approximately 30-45 minutes. You are aiming for enough moisture to evaporate from the buckwheat groats so that they just become crunchy and will be able to be stored in the cupboard. They will still be a little soft when they come out of the oven but you will know they are ready when they harden up on standing. If they are still a bit chewy, return the granola to the oven for a bit longer. Once out of the oven, add the dried super fruits to the granola and leave to cool on the trays.

Store this maple and cinnamon buckwheat granola in a large air-tight jar or container in your pantry.

 

Activating almonds: Simply place the almonds in a bowl and cover with filtered tap water. Leave to soak for 10-12 hours. Drain the water off and rinse well. This removes the natural enzyme inhibitors on the outside of the almonds that make them difficult for our bodies to breakdown and digest. Place the drained nuts on a lined oven tray and place in oven at the lowest fan bake temperature possible with the door slightly ajar – I use a wooden spoon shut in the door as this allows just enough gap for moisture to escape (or use a dehydrator if you have one). Dry the nuts this way for until they are dry to touch and easy to crack apart. The rest of the drying will happen with the granola. Again, this part is optional. The granola will still taste just as good without activating and drying the nuts.

Pure maple syrup: Make sure you get the real deal. There are quite a few maple syrups out there that are actually just maple flavoured sugar syrup, full of additives and often high fructose corn syrup. The real deal only lists “pure maple syrup” under ingredients and is made by a natural process of extracting the sap from maple trees, evaporating off excess water then filtering to remove impurities. While it is still a form of sugar it has a lower glycemic index than refined sugar and contains some minerals and antioxidants unlike refined sugar. Pure maple syrup is therefore a better choice of sweetener, alongside honey and coconut sugar, if you need to use a sweetener. However, it is still best used in moderation.

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Maple and Cinnamon Buckwheat Granola (Oat free) by swoonfood.com

 

 

Crunchy Maple Banana Granola

Crunchy Maple Banana Granola

Crunchy Maple Banana Granola

 

This crunchy maple banana granola has fast become a pantry staple in our house. Up until recently we mainly ate store bought granola or gluten free muesli, as I’d finally found two brands that had little or no added unrefined sugar, were super tasty, and of course very convenient.

Whilst browsing various health food blogs one day however, I came across quite a few recipes for granola sweetened predominantly with banana. The idea of a crunchy, lightly spiced, banana granola sounded super delicious, yet refreshingly healthy at the same time. Plus what also appealed was all the recipes were very quick and easy to make by simply combining all the ingredients and baking them in the oven.

 Crunchy Maple Banana Granola

 

After trying out a couple of these recipes I found they tasted amazing straight out of the oven, but went soft as soon as they cooled. I concluded this could either be due to the method of cooking or a combination of too much moisture from the banana and coconut. Perhaps these recipes intended to produce soft style granolas, but to me the definition of a good granola is that it should stay crunchy right until you spoon it into your mouth.

So never one to turn away a cooking challenge, I decided to come up with my own version that still had a lovely banana flavour but stayed crunchy for as long as it’s shelf life.

 

 

 Crunchy Maple Banana Granola 

 

The recipe below is my winning version and produces a granola that has a lovely mild banana flavour, a little bit of spice and a lot of crunch. It bakes at a lower temperature for about an hour as this allows the moisture from the banana to be released while still retaining the flavour. The maple syrup caramelises without burning and you are left with a nice crunchy texture.

Feel free to play around with the amount of spice, and substitute whatever nuts and seeds you prefer. One thing to note is this granola is made with oats so it’s not gluten free, if you are looking for a gluten free granola check out this oat free maple and cinnamon buckwheat granola recipe instead. Hope you enjoy this granola recipe and even better if it becomes a party staple of yours too!

 

Crunchy Maple Banana Granola

 

Crunchy Maple Banana Granola

Makes: 1 large jar
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 1 hour

3 cups of oats
1 cup of coconut thread
1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup of pecans
1/2 cup of almonds
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 very ripe banana
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

 

Preheat the oven to 140ºC fan bake and line two baking trays with baking paper or sheets.

Combine the oats, coconut, pumpkin seeds, pecans, almonds, ginger, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mash the banana well and combine with the maple syrup. Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well, with either a spoon or your hands. Spread the mixture evenly over both trays and bake in the oven for approximately 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the nuts are lightly toasted and the mixture is an even caramelised colour.

Remove from the oven and allow the granola to cool on the trays. When cold store in airtight containers in the pantry. To serve, combine with your choice of milk or nut milk and whatever fresh fruit you have in season.

This is also a great breakfast on the run, just pop it into a jar, top with milk, fruit and yoghurt and you’re ready to go!

 

Crunchy Maple Banana Granola 

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