Thursday, April 5, 2012

Peanut Butter Maple Granola


Some time ago, I tried my hand at making home made granola.  I'm not the kind of person to eat granola for breakfast; rather, I love spooning it over thick Greek yogurt drizzled with honey and topped with fat slices of banana.  My body has had a love hate relationship with nuts the last 10 years, ever since I discovered that I could have Oral Allergy syndrome.  At one time, particular fresh fruits and nuts would make my mouth itch and burn but these days, as my reactions to apples have waned, so have my reactions to nuts.

There really is much rejoicing, because I love almonds, and now it seems I can eat them.

I was inspired to try this granola when I was searching the internet for recipes using maple, since a lovely twitter follower of mine so kindly sent me a jug of the darkest of dark maple syrup from a sugar shack just down the road from her house.  I was (am!) thrilled to pieces to have syrup this decadent and rich to use in baking.  This recipe seemed to call a little from the recesses of the internet, daring me to try it.  Peanut butter and dried fruit add a sweet/salty element that I couldn't ignore, so last weekend I whipped up a batch.

My entire family loves it.  From Kevin, who eats it by the handful to John, who prefers his in a bowl with milk, we've been nibbling on it all week.  I daresay that you need to make this, and that it would make a great gift if you were inclined to give some away. Personally, I think I would have a mutiny on my hands should any leave my house. Feel free to mix it up when it comes to the nuts and/or fruit, using whatever kinds appeal to you.  I love cashews and pecans in my granola, and I think a mixture of them in this would be delicious.  I also used a combination of dried berries, but you could use dried apple and/or apricots if that suited you. Have fun!

Adapted from Dinner with Julie

4 cups old fashioned / large flake oats
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2 cups nuts-I used 1 cup of chopped pecans, 3/4 cup chopped almonds, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup (dark, if you can find it)
1 cup of dried fruit (I like cranberries, cherries, blueberries)

Pre-heat oven to 325 F.

Stir the peanut butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup together in a medium sauce pan over medium low heat until melted and smooth.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, coconut, nuts, and salt.  Drizzle over the peanut butter/maple mixture, stirring as you go, until all the oats and nuts are all well coated. Spread out onto a large rimmed baking sheet, and bake for about 30-35 minutes until golden.  If you like your granola clumpy, only stir it once, but if you don't mind that there aren't many clumps, stir it a few times as it bakes.

Let the mixture cool before adding the dried fruit.  

Store in an airtight container, or in large Mason jars, as I do. Makes about six cups.

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