I have some granola inspiration to share with you today! While at the store a few weeks ago, I saw a package of granola from La Brea Bakery and loved that it had big chunks. I set out to recreate that in my kitchen. Initially I wanted to make a mixed fruit granola, but seeing that I had some very ripe bananas that needed to be used up I thought I’d put them into a granola with a nut butter instead. We’ll save the fruit granola for another time. This combination turned out great. Not too sweet, chunky like I wanted and the nut butter will add a good amount of protein. This is a perfect snacking granola! Great to have on hand at home or pack some up and take it with on the go. You can also break it up a bit more and top it on non-dairy ice cream or yogurt. You may even like to fill a bowl full, add some milk and enjoy. However you like your granola, this will be a great addition to your granola addiction!
I used almond butter here but you can use any natural nut butter you like. The bananas, the riper the better…the more ripe they are the sweeter they’ll be.
Mix your wet and dry ingredients…
Spread on 1 extra large baking sheet or 2 smaller ones. In the picture above I spread the granola close together. I did one sheet this way and another loosely spread out (first photo). Both batches worked great but the loosely spread granola baked a little faster.
Once cooled and broken up, you’re ready to enjoy!
PEANUT BUTTER & BANANA GRANOLA SNACK CLUSTERS
- 4 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup almond or peanut butter (I used crunchy almond butter)
- 2 small ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, optional
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
In a large bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, pepitas, cinnamon and salt.
Warm your coconut oil and maple syrup, combine with vanilla extract. Mash your bananas and measure your nut butter. Combine the wet ingredients with the oat mixture. Toss and mix to coat well.
Spread mixture evenly on a lined or lightly greased baking sheet (I used two baking sheets). You can either lightly compact the mixture or loosely spread it out a bit. If compacting, you’ll want to mix the granola when rotating after 30 minutes.
Bake for 30 minutes. Turn and rotate sheet/sheets, bake an additional 25 – 30 minutes. Keep an eye towards the end so it doesn’t over brown (ovens run differently). Remove from oven, granola will be somewhat soft at first. Let cool for 15 minutes, break up into chunks, especially the center part if you’ve compacted the mixture. Let granola cool completely to harden.
Change up the nuts using peanuts, walnuts or pecan pieces. Use sunflower seeds in place of the pepitas.
You will most likely do just as well without any oil. If you’d like to reduce the oil, try using only 2 tablespoons. I like the flavor and addition of the coconut oil for myself.
Once cooled, if you still find your granola to not be as crunchy as you might like, bake again at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes, keep an eye so it doesn’t over brown.
This granola needs to cook low and slow. My first batch I baked at 325 degrees F. for 40 minutes but it still needed extra baking time after cooling to become crunchy. I lowered the temp and added a bit more time. Be sure to watch it towards the end so it doesn’t become burnt, especially if you’ve spread it loosely on the baking sheet.
The 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon gives a very subtle flavor, add another 1/2 teaspoon for a more enhanced cinnamon flavor.
If you happen to have both rolled and quick oats on hand, try using 2 – 3 cups rolled oats and 1 -2 cups of quick oats (use whatever combo equals 4 cups with at least 2 cups rolled oats). This will also help to make nice clusters.