I have been thinking about making granola for about six months now. Not sure what stopped me from going for it — because it’s super easy…and super delicious! Granola is by far one of my favorite breakfast foods and adding my two favorite ingredients, chocolate and peanut butter, could only be a snack fit for perfection.

I’d been wanting to buy oats anyway and any excuse to dump semi-sweet chips into a concoction is okay by me. I was so excited to make it I woke up this morning thinking about and got started around 9am. I was a tad afraid I’d eat it all in the process but self discipline was regained! I managed to pull it together without snacking much…though waiting for it to cool completely in order to add the last ingredient — mini chips — was difficult!

BUT — Tiffany came over and we hauled it to the pool for a couple hours so I was hungry for a delicious granola cereal lunch with almond milk, bananas and honey!

Directions and photos below the jump!


* 4 cups old-fashioned oats
* 1 cup oat bran (can substitute wheat germ)
* 1 cup roasted, salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
* 1/4 cup vegetable oil
* 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey (a tad more of this next time!)
* 1/3 cup chunky peanut butter (a tad more of this next time!)
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1 banana, very ripe
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, or chopped chocolate (I used an entire bag because I am a chocohlic)

Preheat your oven to 275 degrees F/ 135 degrees C. In a large bowl combine the old-fashioned oats, the oat bran, and the chopped peanuts, and toss them together.

Mash the extra ripe banana using a fork or whatever is available. The riper the banana, the easier it will be to mash and the more sweetness it will add, so don’t be afraid to use a really soft brown one. Set the banana aside for a few minutes.

Combine the vegetable oil, maple syrup or honey, peanut butter, salt, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan.

Place the pan over medium-heat, and stir while it heats up and the peanut butter melts. Stir frequently so that the bottom doesn’t scorch. Cook until the mixture is thick and bubbling. (It only takes a minute or so)

Now take the pan from the heat and add the vanilla extract. Add the mashed banana and stir until all of your liquid ingredients are well-mixed.

Pour the liquidy goodness over your oats mixture and stir like crazy.

Stir until all the ingredients are completely coated and there aren’t any dry patches remaining. Now — it’s time to bake!

Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, and spread the granola out all over the baking sheet. It’s fastest and easiest if the granola is in a single layer, so if your baking sheet is on the smaller side, it’s better to spread the granola over two sheets so that it bakes faster and more evenly.

Bake the granola for about an hour. Stir after every 15 minutes so that it cooks evenly. Stirring is a bit of a tricky proposition–you want to move the granola around so it doesn’t get burned, but you also want to try and keep some larger chunks together so that you have lovely clumps instead of just individual oats. Just do your best to move the granola around without disturbing all of the clumps–and if you do, it’ll still taste delicious!

Bake the granola until it is very fragrant and an even, golden brown color all over. If you feel it with your hands, it will probably still feel somewhat soft and not done straight from the oven. As it cools, it will crisp up, so don’t be alarmed if it doesn’t have the texture you’re expecting right away. It’s more reliable to judge its readiness by color than by feel.

Let the granola cool completely before adding the final–and most important!–ingredient, the mini chocolate chips.

Now — you’ll have lots extra (if you’re lucky!) and you can pack it up and use for cereal! That’s my plan at least. I’ll be eating this granola crack all week and Rick claims he doesn’t want any to which I say — GOOD!

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