Pumpkins, cranberries, apples, cinnamon, pecans … these are the essential elements of fall baking. The onset of cool weather flips the switch of my taste buds to crave apple crisp, pumpkin bread, pecan pie, molasses cookies, and cranberry-orange scones!
Here in Iowa, we are enjoying a nice, cool, long, fall. It’s the middle of October and the leaves have just started turning and falling. We can hope that these days will continue through Thanksgiving but we don’t hold our breath. We could be seeing our breath at any time in the near future.
I think baking in the fall is my favorite. The smell of warm fruit, nuts, oats, and spice just draws people into the house … sometimes it’s the neighbors! That’s a good thing too because having all these awesome dessert options around gets me started way too early on my holiday waistline.
All the flavors and textures I crave come together in this Autumn Granola with minimal added sugar and healthy ingredients. It satisfies the craving, and it’s as easy to make as Chex Mix!
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice or cardamom
3 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2-1 cup unsweetened flake coconut
1-1 1/2 cup nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds/pepitas)
1/3-1/2 cup chia/flax seed blend (optional)
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup honey, molasses, and/or maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon maple flavoring
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup cranberries
Preheat oven to 250°. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice/cardomom, oats, coconut, nuts, and chia/flax seed in a large bowl. Stir to combine. In a separate bowl, combine apple sauce, honey/molasses/maple syrup, vanilla and maple flavoring. Stir to combine.
Drizzle the applesauce mixture over oat mixture and stir until oat mixture is well coated and granola begins to gather into clusters.
Spread granola onto two baking sheets and bake for one hour, gently stirring every 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool. Stir in raisins and cranberries and store in air-tight containers or freeze in resealable plastic bags.
- Eat it as an energy-boosting snack
- Sprinkle some on top of yogurt
- Stir it into a morning bowl of oatmeal
- Put it in small jars or celophane bags for homemade gifts or party favors
Don’t forget to enjoy the way this mixture works like potporri in your home while it’s baking. Just be prepared for the neighbors to stop by!
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