Caterina Giammarresi embraces autumn with a festive granola with everyone’s favorite fall flavor: Pumpkin Spice. 

Autumn in North America is perfect. First of all, it’s gorgeous. The earth is scattered with varying shades of vibrant reds, yellows, oranges, and even the final stubborn greens that have yet to turn.  The air is crisp and cool, but still warm enough to enjoy the beautiful colours in just a cardigan and scarf. Also, all of the best holidays occur during the fall months:  Dia de Los Muertos, Thanksgiving, Halloween (and you even start to get the Christmas feel towards the end). But no matter how many colours the trees are sporting, nor how many houses are ridiculously decorated with Halloween décor, it is not yet fall until Pumpkin Spice makes an appearance. A lot of my friends who are not from North America don’t understand what all the hype is about. It’s just a couple spices thrown together, right? Absolutely wrong. Pumpkin Spice is monumental.

At this time of year you can find pumpkin spice in just about every self-respecting establishment that sells consumable goods. Starbucks is famous for their Pumpkin Spice Latte this time of year, and pretty much all other coffee shops sell some version of the Pumpkin Spice Latte as well. Mars and Hershey’s release seasonal pumpkin spice M&Ms and Kisses. Silk sells a Pumpkin Spice flavoured soy milk. Pop-Tarts come with a Pumpkin Spice filling. Planters makes Pumpkin Spice almonds. Even Pringles made a Pumpkin Spice flavour (though this is questionable decision on their part). You can find Pumpkin Spice cookies, muffins, bread, bagels, cream cheese, breakfast bars, beer, marshmallows, ice cream (best thing ever), Jell-O,  spread, granola, and—of course—the Thanksgiving tradition: pumpkin pie. You can literally find Pumpkin Spice anything.  And it’s glorious.

If I haven’t made it clear how much Pumpkin Spice there is, you can watch this video about it.

Anyway, I wasn’t going to let Scotland’s lack of Pumpkin Spice magic keep me from fully experiencing the greatest time of the year, so I made my own Pumpkin Spice granola (as well as a shameful amount of other Pumpkin Spiced things). A lot of Pumpkin Spice recipes call for pumpkin puree, which I can’t find in shops here, and don’t time to make from scratch. But the beauty of the Pumpkin Spice flavour is that doesn’t even need pumpkin, but is just a combination of a few different spices. Granola is quite simple to make, and I’ve been enjoying my autumn-flavoured bliss every morning for breakfast.

 

 

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Ingredients: 

– 500g Oats

– ½ cup Natural Sweetener (Agave, Honey, Maple Syrup)

– ¾ cup Vegetable Oil

– 1 cup chopped Hazelnuts (or nuts of your choice)

– ½ cup Pumpkin Seeds

– ¼ cup Milled Flaxseed/Linseed

– 1.5 tbs Pumpkin Spice*

– 1 pinch salt

– 1 large handful Sultanas

 

*To make the Pumpkin Spice mix the following ground spices in a small bowl:

– 4 teaspoons cinnamon

– 2 teaspoons allspice

– 1 teaspoons ground ginger

– 1 teaspoon nutmeg

 

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to about 165/170 degrees Celsius.

2. Combine the oats, natural sweetener, vegetable oil, chopped nuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, pumpkin spice, and salt in a large mixing bowl. I added things gradually as to ensure that everything was equally mixed and dispersed. You want to make sure that your oats are completely covered in the liquid ingredients so that you get the crunchy granola texture throughout.

3. Once everything is thoroughly combined and the oven is ready, pour mixture onto an oven safe container. I used two containers and made sure they each had a relatively thin layer of the mixture. This helps the granola to bake more evenly and quickly.

4. Bake the granola for about 30 minutes, stirring the mixture periodically, and then add the sultanas.

5. Bake and stir for an additional 10-15 minutes. Every oven is different so just be careful not to let your granola burn (sultanas will burn quickly). You can adjust the time depending on how quickly your granola turns golden and crunchy.

6. Once it’s done, take it out of the oven and let it cool before transferring to an airtight container where it can keep for a couple of weeks!

7. Enjoy the best season of the year!

 

Caterina Giammarresi 

 

Photo credits: Caterina Giammarresi