October is the month of the pumpkin. Unless, of course, you think about pumpkin pie, in which case November is the month of the pumpkin. But for my purposes here today, October is the month. So when Lily graduated from the little baby room to the bigger baby room at daycare, I made some of this granola for her teachers as a thank you for keeping her alive every day. I probably should have given them several hundred dollar bills, but mama is on a budget and thanks to very strict laws regarding how many adults need to care for each child, there were a lot of teachers to thank.
I made this jar of granola and left it on the kitchen counter overnight so that I wouldn't forget to pack it in Lily's bag the next day, only to wake up to the sight of my husband with a hand in the jar and a full mouth saying, "Ohmygod, this is some good granola." So, the teachers got 3/4 of a jar of granola. I also sent flourless fudge cookies (recipe coming) to school to keep them from asking too many questions. And they didn't complain, so all was a success. I'll have to make another batch all for Jake to thank him for his efforts in keeping Lily alive for her first year, too.
5 cups rolled oats 1/2 teaspoon ginger 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1 teaspoon salt ¾ cup brown sugar ½ cup pure pumpkin puree ¼ cup applesauce ¼ cup maple syrup 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup dried cranberries 1/2 cup pepitas (cooked pumpkin seeds)
Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine oats, spices, and salt. Mix well.
In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Pour wet ingredients into oat mixture and stir until the oats are evenly coated. They will be moist. Evenly spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and stir. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the granola is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and stir in dried cranberries and pepitas. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Serve granola with yogurt, milk, or enjoy plain.
Source: adapted slightly from Two Peas and Their Pod