(Natural) sugar, spice(s), and everything nice (like dark chocolate, YUM!) – that’s what Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Granola is made of!
Ok that was a stretch, but seriously, if the orange-squash-covered drive thru menu at my local Caribou Coffee is any indication, it’s officially pumpkin spice season! Cue thoughts of falling leaves, fingerless cloves, and car seat heaters. (PS I think I’m officially a Caribou convert. It’s all about the almond milk, man.)
Anyway, personally I can’t get into the pumpkin spice flavored drinks on the market because they’re not Celiac-friendly (cross contamination – it’s a beeotch!) but pumpkin spice stuff at home? ALL about it. I need to recreate these Pumpkin Pancakes with a GF pancake mix ASAP, but in the meantime I’m ringing in this lovely season of pumpkin and warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves with this entirely too easy to inhale Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Granola which is not only gluten-free, but dairy-free, and naturally sweetened, too. Plus, it’s vegan. Fall-flavored granola for literally everyone!
Old fashioned oats, quinoa (which gives this granola a fabulous crunch, plus a boost of protein and nutrients,) pecans, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, vanilla, coconut oil, and the spices I mentioned above are mixed then baked until golden brown and crunchy. Once the granola is completely cool, dark chocolate chips are stirred in then the granola is yours for sprinkling into yogurt, over ice cream, or directly into your pie hole, which is what I obviously advise. ;)
If you’ve never tried the combination of chocolate and pumpkin, get excited because the flavors are made for each other. Like Mariska Hargitay and Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood video – you wouldn’t immediately put the two of them together, but once you experience it there’s no turning back.
That is to say, this chocolate and pumpkin granola is so good that it’s got me thinking of other ways I can marry the flavors. Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate. Pumpkin Spice Brownies (<– definitely happening!) Pumpkin Spice Biscotti dipped in chocolate. The sky is the limit (or mid-November, I suppose!)
Like I said this granola is really crunchy on account of the quinoa which crisps as it cools, and is lightly sweetened with warming maple syrup. I mean I just. LOVE IT!
There’s really only two steps to this recipe – stir stuff together in a bowl then bake it! Said stuff includes 3 cups certified gluten-free old fashioned oats (if you need it,) 1/2 cup rinsed quinoa, 3/4 cup chopped pecans, 2 Tablespoons ground flax seed meal (optional,) and pumpkin pie-inspired spices including cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, and ground nutmeg…plus a little salt. Mix everything together in a large bowl.
In another bowl whisk together 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling,) 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (not pancake syrup,) 1/4 cup melted coconut oil, and 2 teaspoons vanilla.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry, stir very well to coat, and then spread the mixture onto a silpat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees until the oats and pecans are golden brown, 25-30 minutes, stirring every five minutes. The granola will crisp as it cools so don’t worry about the texture – you just want to make sure you don’t burn the nuts!
After the granola is completely cool, stir in 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips. I absolutely love these Enjoy Life chips (usually found in the health food section of the regular grocery store,) which are free of many allergens including dairy and wheat, but taste amazing. I’ve never really found a dark chocolate I enjoy until I tried this brand.
Let’s talk packaging! You could store the granola in a bowl on your countertop so you can snag handfuls of it every time you step foot in the kitchen (aka me, who has been looking for reasons to go in there even more often than usual because I know this stuff is waiting for me,) OR you could package it in a nice mason jar, and even give it as a gift. Who wouldn’t love to be on the receiving end of this perfectly sweet and spiced delivery?
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Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Granola
Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Granola is just sweet enough and spiced with the unmistakable flavors of fall, with a hint of dark chocolate. Gluten-free and refined-sugar-free, too!
- 3 cups certified gluten-free old fashioned oats (I like Trader Joe’s brand)
- 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans
- 2 Tablespoons gluten-free ground flax seed meal (optional)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I like Enjoy Life brand)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees then line a large baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. Combine oats, quinoa, pecans, ground flax seed meal, spices and salt in a large bowl then stir to combine.
- In a separate bowl stir together remaining ingredients, except chocolate chips. Pour into dry ingredients then mix very well to coat. Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet then bake until nuts and oats are golden brown, 25-30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Granola will crisp as it cools.
- Cool granola completely on baking sheet then stir in chocolate chips. Store granola in an airtight container at room temperature for 4-5 days.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
This granola will stay nice and crunchy in an airtight container for up to 5 days and I think it gets better every single day. Enjoy both this granola, and pumpkin spice season while it lasts!