Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Peanut Butter Granola

How can you make homemade granola any better than it is on it's own?  I can tell you.  Add peanut butter.  I went to make a batch and realized that I was out of nuts.  I actually did not have a bag of any kind and that's most likely a first for me.  So, improvisation came into play and I settled on subbing in some crunchy peanut butter in place of them.  I even played around with the oats, since I bought the wrong kind, and found that the quick cooking oatmeal is just as good.  If anything it may even be better for this particular recipe than the old fashioned oatmeal that I usually use for my standard granola recipe.  It is a finer texture, so the addition of the peanut butter really helps to give it a nice coating making it better for baking with and for cereal.    

4 1/2 cups of quick cooking oats
1/2 cup of shredded coconut
1/2 cup of broken pretzel sticks
1/2 cup of dried cherries
1/2 cup of raisins
1/2 tsp. of cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/3 cup of canola oil
1/4 cup of honey
2 T. of maple syrup
1/2 cup of light brown sugar
3 T. of crunchy peanut butter
1/2 tsp. of real vanilla extract

-Preheat oven to 325*. In a large mixing bowl stir together the oats, coconut, pretzels, cherries, raisins, cinnamon and salt; set to the side. In a small saucepan bring the oil, honey, syrup and brown sugar to a boil; add in the peanut butter.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Pour into the oat mixture and thoroughly combine. Cover two large cookie sheets with aluminum foil and spray with canola cooking spray. Spread out wet granola evenly on each sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes; stopping every 10 minutes to stir it. Once it has reached a dark golden color, remove from oven and allow to completely cool. Once cooled, break apart into small chunks. Eat alone, top off your yogurt or even garnish the top of some muffins prior to baking. Yields 8-9 cups. Enjoy!

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