UPDATED TO ADD: This is scrumptious! I couldn't find puffed rice cereal, so I used whole grain oat cereal, and added a cup of coconut for extra texture. In the crockpot, make sure you vent the lid and stir often so as to prevent burning.
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Pumpkin Spice Granola
3 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix
pinch ground cardamom
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup plain pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup plain applesauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
up to 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts
up to 1 cup dried fruit
nut suggestions: almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seedsdried fruit suggestions: cranberries, raisins
Preheat the oven to 325F and line a large baking sheet (or two smaller sheets) with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine oats, puffed rice cereal. In a medium bowl, whisk together spices, salt, sugar, applesauce (do not use chunky applesauce), pumpkin puree, maple syrup and vanilla. Whisk until very smooth.
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir with a spatula or large spoon until mixture is evenly coated. Spread on prepared baking sheet(s) in an even layer.Bake for 30 minutes, then turn over the granola carefully using a large wide spatula.
Sprinkle the nuts onto the granola, then bake everything for additional 15 minutes, until crisp and golden. Depending on the size of your baking sheet, the center might not be fully dried if your granola layer is thick, so if necessary remove the edges of the cooked granola to a cooling rack and let the rest cook for another 10-15 minutes until done.
Cool on pan or on a fine wire rack. Break granola up as desired and store in an airtight container. Add dried fruit before serving.
Makes about 8 servings, more depending on add-ins.