I’m finally posting this recipe for my cousin Deleena, Miss sunshine forever on her shoulder. (And for everyone else who eats peanut butter every day, in some form or another.) Here’s a new vehicle for your PB addiction, girlie. I’m so glad you wouldn’t know a pothole if it threw you.
This recipe is adapted rather significantly from Crunchy Granola Bars in “The New Best Recipe.” This is the first Cook’s Illustrated recipe to convince me that the editors at CI are not infallible after all. Besides altering the ingredients to taste, I also had to make major time and temperature modifications to prevent burnage. It took three attempts, and several confused discussions with the temperature gauge I keep hanging from the center rack, to finally time it so I didn’t burn the oats. So beware. Maybe 30 minutes in your 375 oven won’t burn the toasting oats, but I wouldn’t bet my breakfast on it.
Peanut Butter Granola
6 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
½ cup peanut or other neutral oil
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups of any mixture of unsalted pecans, walnuts, almonds, and sesame seeds (peanuts don’t have as much nutty flavor as the other nuts)
½ cup real maple syrup
½ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup peanut butter (I prefer Skippy)
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1) Preheat oven to 350. Combine oats, oil, and salt in a large bowl until well coated. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Spread the oats evenly on lined baking sheet. Bake for 6 minutes, stir, 5 more minutes, stir, 4 more minutes and remove. The oats should be dry and fragrant. Don’t wait till the oats darken or the granola will taste burnt.
2) Turn the oven down to 300.
3) However, continue on while toasting your oats.
4) Coarsely chop the nuts with a good knife on a cutting board with a little water sprinkled over them to help keep the nuts from jumping around. Or, pulse a few times in a food processor. Remove about half the chopped nuts to a large bowl. Chop or pulse the rest of the nuts until very finely chopped. Add those to the large bowl too.
5) In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the maple syrup, brown sugar, and peanut butter until sugar is dissolved and the mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes. Stir in vanilla and cinnamon and remove from the heat.
6) Once the oats are out of the oven, add them to the large bowl with nuts and sugar mixture. Stir till well coated and press firmly with a water-moistened flat thing on the same foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 300 for 20 minutes, rotate the pan (to ensure even cooking), and bake another 10 minutes. It should be a light golden color. Do not let it brown aka burn.