Whenever I go grocery shopping, I always end up lingering around the organic granola aisle, and shake my head when I read the price tag. Really? $7 for a small bag of chocolate granola?! Knowing that I absolutely stink at rationing out my granola helpings (I swear those small bags are NOT meant to be 12 servings), I can’t justify buying a bag of granola at the store. I just can’t! I mean, it’s not like granola is baked with gold. Well, sometimes companies claim their granola is ‘baked with love’, but today I’m feeling particularly cynical and call bullcrap on that. In fact, I can bake granola with love– love for all things chocolate and peanut butter. Yes. I definitely can.
So I did.
And it was delicious. I made two different batches– one that had flavors of cinnamon and peanut butter, and the other that was more chocolate-heavy.
And it only cost me maybe $7 to make at least 7 cups of granola. Win. I feel like such a grown-up making these very mindful economical decisions…. riiiight. This is what I think to myself as I greedily pour more chocolate chips into my granola.
The next time you find yourself holding up a small bag of overpriced granola, I hope you consider making your own! You can customize it and get super-creative with ingredients. Why wouldn’t pretzels and honey-roasted peanuts be a delightful addition to granola? Oh, we have leftover m & m’s? Throw those in a batch (okay, but seriously- who has ‘leftover’ m & m’s??)!
Ingredients (adapted from “The Farm Chicks in the Kitchen” cookbook:
5 C old-fashioned rolled oats (NOT quick-oats!)
2 C unsweetened coconut flakes
1 1/2 C pecan pieces
1/2- 3/4 C dried fruit (I used golden raisins + dried cherries)
1/3 C canola oil
1/2 C packed brown sugar
3/4 C crunchy peanut butter (don’t be shy!)
3/4 C honey
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
For Chocolate granola, in addition to the previous ingredients, also use:
*2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
* 3/4 C chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)
1. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
2. Combine the oats, coconut, pecan, and dried fruit in a large bowl.
3. Combine the oil, brown sugar, peanut butter, honey, cinnamon, vanilla, cocoa (if using) and chocolate chips (if using) in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, and stir until smooth-ish.
4. Pour the oil-sugar-peanut butter mixture over the oat mixture, fold in the wet ingredients until all the oats are covered.
5. Spread the granola onto the two baking sheets– you want a thin layer of granola covering each, since you’ll be taking out the baking sheets every 10 minutes to stir/’flip’ the granola.
6. Bake granola until golden-brown– about 30-40 minutes total. Set the timer to go off every 10 minutes to pull the baking sheets out and STIR/FLIP the granola around on the baking sheets with a spatula so all the layers and nooks and crannies of the granola get nice and toasty-crunchy.
7. Cool granola in the baking sheets on a wire rack, then stir one last time. Store up to 2 weeks… if they last that long!
Bonus tip: If you’re thinking of giving some away to friends and family and coworkers… put some granola in wide-mouthed mason jars, and dress up the jars with some cute ribbon. How adorbs (clearly I’ve been on Pinterest too long)!!!