Let me start off by saying that I am not a food blogger, but if you know me, you know I love food and I really enjoy baking. I tried several recipes out first and combined about three and added my own stuff to make this. I had wanted to make something with pumpkin for a while, but not your everyday, run of the mill muffin or cupcake (although I did both of those). I had been looking for a while at making our own granola and weighing the cost benefit to just buying it. Cost wise, it's about the same, flavor wise I'm about to blow your mind!
5 cups rolled oats (not quick)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons honey
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp pumpkin
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 oz dried cherries (standard size bag)
1/2 cup almonds
Preheat oven to 325F, line a jelly roll pan (cookie sheet with sides) with parchment paper.
Mix the oats, and spices together in a large bowl. When you think your bowl is big enough get a bigger one. In a medium sized bowl wisk together brown sugar, honey, pumpkin, applesauce, maple syrup, and vanilla until fully blended. I used homemade applesauce so mine wasn't smooth, but if you are using store bought applesauce this should be a smooth mixture.
Pour wet mixture over dry mixture and fold to cover all the oats. Folding I found to be the best method, as you don't want to break up the oats. Once the oats are moist add cherries and give a few final turns.
While this is cooking you want to chop or slice your almonds. If you decide to chop them, this should be a very rough chop and the pieces rather large.
Spread mixture onto lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, stir and bake for another 20 minutes. Once it's done add the almonds, and stir. Let cool on the baking sheet or put in an open container, but not one that is deep as you want the moisture to finish releasing.
So you aren't opening a can of pumpkin and having a bunch left over this recipe can be doubled and just use the entire can of pumpkin. But make sure you have a HUGE ASS bowl for the mixing.
When you're done, you get this....mmmmm....so good. Our house guest this week as asked for it several times. You can eat it as cereal with milk, or on top of yoghurt, I even put some into some pumpkin flavored pancakes for a little crunch. Store in an air tight container and enjoy!