My standard breakfast is a bowl of cereal.  I have it almost every single day, and really, I don’t mind at all.  I like cereal and I especially like how little thought it requires – I have enough going on in the mornings without worrying about breakfast.  And I’ll be honest – I love kids’ cereals.  I never grew out of them!  My favorite cereal is Count Chocula.  I’m just a big kid!  Unless I make a batch of muffins or scones, cereal is my standby.  However, this week I decided to switch it up when I saw this recipe for pumpkin spice granola.  Almost anything with the words “pumpkin spice” hooks me immediately.  This was a nice change of routine and layered with vanilla yogurt, it was an very enjoyable breakfast.  It also made for a simple addition to a healthy lunch or an easy afternoon snack.

This recipe is a nice way to use up whatever dried fruits and nuts you have on hand.  I normally am not a fan of nuts but I threw a handful of chopped pecans into the mix and I think they went well with the flavor of the granola.  I used dried cranberries for the fruit and I thought they were the perfect match, but I’m sure many other fruits would work well in their place.  This was a breeze to throw together and we have enjoyed snacking on it all week.  I have a feeling I will be making this frequently from now on.

(Photo updated on 9.24.10)

Pumpkin Spice Granola


3 ½ cups rolled oats

2 ½ cups puffed rice cereal

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

¾ tsp. salt

¾ cup brown sugar

½ cup pumpkin puree

¼ cup applesauce

¼ cup maple syrup

1 tsp. vanilla extract

up to 1 ½ cups chopped nuts

up to 1 cup dried fruit


Preheat the oven to 325°.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine oats and puffed rice cereal.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin pie spice, salt, sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract.  Whisk until very smooth.  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until the oat mixture is evenly coated.  Spread on the prepared baking sheet in an even layer.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Then turn over the granola using a large, wide spatula.  Sprinkle the nuts onto the granola and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until crisp and golden.  Depending on the size of your baking sheet, the center may not be fully dried if your granola layer is thick, so if necessary remove the edges of the cooked granola and let the rest cook until done, 10-15 more minutes.  Cool on pan or on a fine wire rack.

Break up granola as desired and toss with dried fruit.  Store in an airtight container.

Source: adapted from Baking Bites