This Chocolate-Peanut Butter Granola recipe all started innocently enough. I had a bag of fresh roasted peanuts and decided to make a nutty peanut butter granola. I wanted to cut down on the fat and sugar, so I used a mashed banana to replace some of the oil and sweetness. Of course everything is better with a little chocolate, so I decided to sprinkle some chocolate chips in at the end. And then it hit me.
Peanut Butter + Banana + Chocolate = ELVIS
Yes, almost without realizing it, I had made a granola recipe fit for a king--or, to be more precise, fit for The King. Elvis's favorite flavor combination works surprisingly well as a breakfast cereal. The banana adds a mellow fruity note, the peanuts and peanut butter give it a salty, savory twist, and who could argue with a little bittersweet chocolate to round things out?
Maybe you have a "Suspicious Mind" and don't believe me. Well, check out this granola recipe and these photos and tell me it doesn't sound divine. "Don't Be Cruel"--try this Chocolate-Peanut Butter Granola today!
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Granola aka "The King's Granola"
yield:about 8 cups granola
- 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
- 1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
- 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
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 with your hands until they're "All Shook Up."
Take your extra-ripe banana and mash it until it's completely liquid, using a potato masher, a fork, or even a blender. 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.
Now take the pan from the heat and add the vanilla extract. Remember your mashed banana? Add that too, and stir until all of your liquid ingredients are well-mixed.
Pour your beautiful banana-peanut concoction over your big bowl of dry ingredients and stir, stir, stir.
Stir until all the ingredients are completely coated and there aren't any dry patches remaining. At this point the granola smells fantastic, and if it weren't for the whole wet-texture thing, it would taste pretty good too. But since the whole point of granola is crunchy clusters, we'd best get to baking.
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 and avoids "Trouble."
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. Warm granola will make the chips melt, so definitely exercise patience on this one to avoid melted chocolate and "Heartbreak Hotel." Add the chocolate and toss everything together with your hands.
Enjoy Chocolate-Peanut Butter Granola as a breakfast cereal with sliced fruit, on top of a bowl of yogurt or oatmeal, as a pre-workout snack, or even as an ice cream topping! If you wanted to really push it over the edge you could eat it with chocolate milk, but don't tell your nutritionist that I'm the one who gave you that idea.
This granola keeps marvelously in an airtight container for up to a month. If you're a slow granola eater, you can portion it out and keep it in plastic bags in the freezer for up to six months. I'm willing to be that won't be a problem, though, and after one taste you'll have a "Burning Love" for this Elvis-inspired granola!
All text and images (c) Elizabeth LaBau