Growing up in Southern California, Autumn does not herald itself in the same way as most people associate with the season.
Here, Fall isn't about the changing colors of the leaves (palm trees don't do that, sorry), nor the cool crisp morning fog that rolls in and begs you to turn on the kettle for a cup of tea (yeah no seriously, I wear flip flops year round). Hey, at least now we kind of have football with the return of the Rams.
Fall for me, and for a lot of Southern California natives, is when the Santa Ana winds start howling. For those unfamiliar with these winds, they even have their own Wikipedia page (and accompanying page on their mention in the popular arts). Also know as "devil winds," these winds are super hot and super strong, and account for how our wildfires get so out of control.
So when the ground bakes and cracks, when the air itself crackles with electricity, and the wind seems to go after you with a personal vengeance, that's when I know that Autumn is upon us.
I'll admit that Southern Californians are a little bit twisted, positively quivering to glug down Pumpkin Spice Lattes and don some scarves when the weather is trying to kill them and it's just as hot as ever. We seem to decide when the seasons change based on what the stores are selling.
So when the first Santa Ana winds of the season started, I immediately decided it was time to start decorating for Halloween and bust out the fall recipes that I've been saving all year.
Too bad I'm just not a fan of Starbucks' PSL.
While I'm not a fan of most things pumpkin-spiced (artificial burnt cloves flavoring? No thanks), these cookies have enough going on that you don't need a lot of spice to bring warmth to these cookies.
I will let you know that I played it fast and loose with the measuring of the mix-ins. Feel free to play it dangerously too. These cookies should be bursting with mix-ins, just like a good granola.
I always make my baked goods with Cup4Cup so that way they are gluten free. If you'd like to make these gluten free, make sure to check the rest of the ingredients for hidden sources of gluten.
Pumpkin Granola Cookies
makes 24 cookies
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup instant/quick rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling!)
1/4 maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup of dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup of pecan pieces
1/4 cup of raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/4 cup of dried fruit (such as dried cherries or cranberries)
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Prepare an unrimmed baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Mix together your dry ingredients (flour, rolled oats, baking soda, spices, and salt) in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together your wet ingredients (melted butter, pumpkin, syrup, brown sugar, and vanilla extract). After they are thoroughly mixed, pour in the the wet ingredients into your mixing bowl of dry ingredients and stir carefully to combine into a cookie dough. Fold in the chocolate chips, nuts, pumpkin seeds, and dried fruit.
Spoon the cookie dough onto the parchment paper or silicone baking mat with a heaping tablespoon and flatten slightly to help it cook evenly. These cookies will not spread very much at all, so feel free to put them as close as 1/2" apart. Bake for about 15 minutes (or longer if you decide to make bigger cookies, which you might after tasting these) or until browned around the edges.
Baked Brie with Figs
Fall Fruit Salad