Spiced Pumpkin Granola

Christmas is probably my favorite time to be in the kitchen. Sitting inside my warm house while the cold wind blows outside, breathing in the intoxicating aromas of whatever is in the oven, blaring the Christmas music and sipping a warm cup of hot chocolate, it all just makes me happy. Reaching into the oven and pulling out a piping hot loaf of bread or a sheet of golden brown sugar cookies makes me smile. I especially love being able to share my love of food with my friends and family. Every year I try to  make something special to give away, spreading the good cheer! Most years I've made an assortment of Christmas cookies, they are my favorite. However this year, with exams and other commitments, I didn't have quite as much time as usual, so I decided to try something different, homemade granola.

Granola is so easy and delicious, you can make a huge batch of it at one time, and it lasts forever. Since it is Christmas, I wanted to make it festive so when I saw this recipe for spiced pumpkin granola I knew it would be perfect. A can of pumpkin and a bunch of warm, festive spices, along with dried cranberries for some Christmas color made this the perfect granola for Christmas.

This may end up being one of my favorite granola recipes. I thought it was absolutely delicious. A slight hint of pumpkin accompanied by cinnamon, ginger, cardamon and nutmeg and a note of sweet from the cranberries, yummy! Because of all the liquid from the pumpkin, this granola did not end up being as crunchy as some of the granolas I've made in the past, but that didn't detract from it one bit, in fact I kind of enjoyed the slightly chewy texture. This one is a winner folks. A fun and festive treat for Christmas.

The dry ingredients ready to go

Heating up the pumpkin mixture

Boxed up and ready to give as the perfect gift

Spiced Pumpkin Granola
Adapted from Healthy Green Kitchen

  • 8 cups old fashion oats 
  • 1 1/2 cup slivered almonds 
  • 3/4 cup wheat germ 
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt 
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar 
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree 
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil 
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted 
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey 
  • 1 cup dried cranberries 

Preheat oven to 300°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together oats, almonds, wheat germ, salt, all of the spices, and the sugars.

In a small saucepan heat together the pumpkin puree, oil, butter and maple syrup or honey until combined.

Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and mix together with your hands until all of the dry ingredients are evenly coated.

Spread the granola evenly over the two prepared pans and bake for 60-75 minutes, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown and dried to your liking. Remove from the oven and stir in the dried cranberries.

Baked Pumpkin Spice 'Donut'Holes

I think donuts are absolutely delicious, but I rarely ever eat them. I have no problem eating sweets for breakfast, but when it comes to donuts, all I can think about is all the oil they are fried in. Granted, it is all of that oil that makes them so delicious, but it also makes me think twice before I stuff one in my mouth. When I saw this recipe for a baked version of donut holes floating around the internet I knew I had to give them a shot. There is no way anything baked can compete with a true donut, but that doesn't mean they can't be tasty in their own way, and these don't disappoint.

To make these donuts, all you need is a mini muffin pan. A small scoop of batter in each hole bakes up as a small little cake, pretty closely resembling a donut hole. I found that you don't want to fill each hole very full or the donuts end up looking more like a muffin than the donut you're going for. Slightly under filling each indentation helps them bake up round like a true donut hole.

When they're still fresh from the oven, quickly role each donut in butter followed by cinnamon sugar, or just roll them in some powdered sugar. Both versions are delicious. I did find that if you go the powdered sugar route you may need to dip them more than once because the sugar kind of melts into the warm donuts. But that's no problem, with sugar I always figure the more the merrier!

These donut holes turned out extremely moist and tender. They tasted a lot like the inside of a normal donut. Because they aren't fried you don't get the crisp exterior like a normal donut has, but they're so tasty you will hardly even miss it!

Ingredients and muffin tin ready to go

Mix it all up

Start filling those mini muffin holes

(not too full or they will look more like muffins

than donut holes)

Ready for the oven

Beautiful fresh from the oven

Coating options

Butter with cinnamon sugar!

Powdered sugar is also delicious; they were

both so good, I can't pick a favorite

On it's way to my watering mouth

Baked Pumpkin Spice Donut Holes
From The Craving Chronicles
For Donuts

  • 1 3/4 cups (8 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (200 grams) canned pumpkin 
  • 1/2 cup (130 grams) milk

For Coating

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • Powdered sugar

Preheat oven 350°F. Spray each cup in a 24-cup mini muffin tin with baking spray or butter generously.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and spices (through cloves). In a separate, large bowl whisk together oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until smooth. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined – do not over mix!

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

While the muffins bake, melt butter in one bowl, combine granulated sugar and cinnamon in another bowl and put powdered sugar in a third bowl. Remove muffins from oven and cool for 2 minutes, or until just cool enough to handle. Dip each muffin in melted butter, then roll in cinnamon sugar to coat or dip each muffin directly in the powdered sugar.