We all want granola to be healthy. And some granolas are so sweet they could easily qualify as candy. But since I tend to spend the better part of the day roaming around my apartment sticking my hand in various boxes and jars of stuff to eat, I wanted to come up with a granola that was satisfying enough for breakfast, but one that I didn’t feel so guilty about dipping my hand into throughout the day. And this Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip granola fits that bill!
I never was a big breakfast eater. That ended when I enrolled in a tough exercise class back when I lived in San Francisco. It was grueling and our fierce instructor really pushed us. We all bonded as a group (sometimes, successfully against her wrath), which made it fun, and tolerable. But one day we were all particularly wiped out and she stopped the class, went around the room, and asked each of us what we had for breakfast that morning.
The majority of us answered, “…uh, coffee.” Or maybe “Coffee…and half a leftover bagel.” She berated each of us after we spoke because she told us that we needed to fuel ourselves by eating more than we were in the morning. So I took her up on that and started eating fruit with yogurt, topping it with a sprinkling of granola.
Store-bought granola is usually sad, with not enough big chunks of things to make it worth the money, although it is more convenient. However this granola doesn’t require lots of chopping and the list of ingredients is fairly short, and you likely have most of them on hand.
In France, peanut butter can be found in supermarkets, often in the “foreign food” (i.e.; American food) section, and often Skippy, although sometimes there are things I’ve never seen in America, like powdered cheesecake mix. (Who makes cheesecake from powder??) I get mine from one of the multicultural stores in neighborhoods like Belleville or the 13th arrondissement, and it’s usually available in Asian markets or shops that sell African and Arabic foods, such as Sabah.
I use chocolate chips in this granola, rather than chopped chocolate since chips are baking-resistant so hold their shape once baked, so you get big bits of chocolate in almost every bite. Chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, the kind that’s normally used for baking, will melt entirely in the oven. (Yup, I’ve tried it.)
As soon as it cools down, I find myself eating this clumpy granola right off the baking sheet. The big chocolate chips are a bonus, scattered amongst crackly oats and seeds coated with peanut butter, and baked with rice syrup, Golden syrup, agave nectar, or maple syrup. It’s a treat that I’ve been enjoying morning, noon, and night. And in between too!
Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Granola
- 3 cups (300g) rolled oats
- 1 cup (150g) roasted peanuts, very coarsely chopped
- 3/4 cup (120g) chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup (70g) sunflower seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (130g) smooth peanut butter, regular or natural
- 1/2 cup (160g) rice syrup, agave nectar, Golden syrup, or maple syrup
- 1/4 cup (60g) packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF (165ºC).
- In a large bowl, mix together the oats, chopped peanuts, chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, and salt.
- In a small saucepan, warm the peanut butter, liquid sweetener (syrup), brown sugar, and water over low heat, stirring constantly just until the mixture is smooth. Don’t get the mixture too hot.
- Pour the peanut butter mixture into the dry ingredients and mix it in well, coating the oats, peanuts and seeds well.
- Spray a baking sheet lightly with nonstick spray. Spread the granola mixture in an even layer on the baking sheet. Bake the granola in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring a few times during baking, until the granola is golden brown. (Be sure to stir from the edges, which tend to darken quicker than the center.) Remove from oven and let cool completely.