Confession: I've never read Walden.
I'm sitting in my apartment in the heart of San Francisco, where the sun has almost completely set, Sans Souci by Pêtr Aleksänder is playing, and I'm now wishing I would have put a loaf of bread in the oven so the air would waft and smell of warm spices and nostalgia. Fall has always been my favorite season, and as much as I love California, nothing compares to the way my childhood world looked and felt in October. To be fair, I've spent half of this decade on the east coast and half elsewhere, but the latter is void of seasonal color, crisp air, and cozy sweaters with a bowl of chili watching football on a Sunday afternoon. I made a pot last week just so I could feel like I was home again.
I mention Walden because my heart is there now – walking along wooded trials in golden light with strokes of red, orange, yellow, and green above and below me. For a person who loves Fall (and words) as dearly as I do, I'm not sure how I've lived through so many solstices, many in Massachusetts where Thoreau wrote his prized work, without reading it. I'm going to spend some time this weekend tracking down a used copy to add to my collection. Buying secondhand books, especially classics, is non-negotiable.
In addition to chili, I've made pumpkin snickerdoodles, spiced buckwheat apple muffins, almond bread with rosemary, thyme and honey whipped feta, roasted acorn squash with clove and pomegranate, and a butternut squash recipe to try tomorrow. Needless to say, the flavors of Fall are unprecedented. I love how seasonal foods are just that: seasonal. They compliment the transition in temperature, warming (or cooling) our bodies against the air around us.
In the words of Henry David Thoreau,
Pumpkin Spice Granola Bark
- 2 cup gluten free granola
- 2 T amaranth
- 3 T quinoa
- 1 T pumpkin pie spice, plus 1/4 t for chocolate
- 2 T maple syrup
- 1/4 t cinnamon
- 3 T coconut sugar
- 1 T pumpkin purée
- 3/4 t vanilla
- 10-12 oz chocolate (I used an entire 12 oz bag but it was pretty heavy on chocolate)
- 1/4 c pepitas
- 1 t coconut oil
- salt to taste
Mix grains, maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, coconut sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin puree in a large mixing bowl. Season with salt to taste. Press firmly into a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and pack tightly. (It will likely only fill up half the baking sheet – just use three sides and use the parchment paper to mold the 4th side.)
Bake at 350 until golden brown for 22-25 minutes, rotating halfway through. Let cool.
While granola is cooling, melt chocolate, 1/4 t pumpkin pie spice, and coconut oil in a double boiler. Pour over granola, spreading evenly. Top with pepitas.
Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or until chocolate solidifies.