Thursday, June 29, 2017

Peanut Butter Cup Granola

We have been obsessed with homemade granola ever since making this version in the crock pot years ago. I've since switched my method to cooking in the oven, and it is just as delicious.

With a family of 7, you can imagine that granola doesn't last long (actually, nothing lasts long with a family of 7, ha), so I like to make a lot at one time. I usually make 3 types. While one is in the oven, I prepare another. This way, I'm reusing the dishes without having to wash everything, and since most of the ingredients are the same, I have those out already too. It saves me time and streamlines the process. In less than 2 hours, we can have a ton of granola and a clean kitchen. The most difficult thing is trying to decide which kind to make!

It's no secret that we love the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. I mean, homemade Butterfingers made with a crazy ingredient, a decadent peanut butter brownie torte, rich and creamy peanut butter pie, these peanut butter bars which is one of our absolute favorite desserts, homemade Girl Scout peanut butter patties, and a cool and creamy peanut butter cup ice cream cake, anyone? All delicious, yes, but did you notice a theme? They're all desserts. And while I could totally enjoy a peanut butter bar any time of the day, it's probably not the best idea. This granola though is completely acceptable as a breakfast food! Sure, it has a bit of chocolate and chips, but it's still better than those sugary cereals, and it keeps you full longer. Sounds like a good compromise to me. Besides, the kids always think I'm making no bake cookies when this granola is cooking, because it smells exactly the same. So, it's still kinda like eating cookies for breakfast, ha.

I have been working to perfect this recipe for a while. Each time I'd make it, I'd tweak it to make it just a little bit better until we got to this. It is bursting with peanut butter flavor with a hint of chocolate. Of course, with any granola recipe, it's easy to change it to meet your tastes. Leave out the cocoa powder for a pure peanut butter version or don't add the chips for a more subtle peanut butter flavor. I use Reese's brand of baking chips to give it more of a true peanut butter cup flavor, but any brand will work.
Of all the granolas we make, this is the kids' favorite. I hope you like it as much as we do.

Peanut Butter Cup Granola
5 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup honey
1/4 cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup peanut butter chips

1. Place oats in a large bowl.
2. In a glass measuring cup or small bowl, combine the honey and peanut butter. Microwave for one minute; whisk. Microwave an additional 30 seconds, or as needed, to melt everything and allow it to combine smoothly. (Can also be melted on the stove in a small saucepan.)
3. Stir in cocoa powder and vanilla. Pour over oats and mix to coat. (I use a spatula.)
4. Spread granola in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 275°for 20 minutes. Stir and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let cool completely before mixing in peanut butter chips. Store in an air-right container.

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