Was a time when “granola” wasn’t just used as the noun for the crunchy, nutty, dried fruit cereal, but for me and my kindred spirits who didn’t shave our legs, favored vegan foods and usually had a copy of the Bhagavad Gita partially memorized : )
This recipe is an ode to all those good-and-natural kindred spirits! And it’s the next in my series of recipes that use stuff you’ve had in your cupboard, but keep neglecting. In this case? That jar of natural crunchy peanut butter–the one where the oil has separated to the top, leaving a dense mass of unspreadable ground peanut underneath. If your kids are like mine, the suggestion that they “just need to spend a little time stirring the two parts back together” gets an eye roll, and a “no thanks” as they reach for another option.
To make it, you’ll need nuts (pecans, almonds, and flaked coconut), that jar of crunchy natural peanut butter with the oil and nuts separated, some dried fruit (I used raisins, dried cranberries and dried cherries–but currants, sultanas, chopped apricot, dried blueberries, figs or dates are great too!) plus old-fashioned rolled oats, maple syrup, a little fresh-squeezed orange juice (mandarins, clementines or navel oranges all work,) two sugars (brown and white) and a little vegan butter.
The granola bakes into a beautifully crunchy treat that you can break up into large pieces, or, smaller (to eat as cereal.) The dried fruit gets mixed in last. Granola keeps well in a big glass jar with a tight lid. Enjoy!
Very Nutty Peanut Butter Granola (Gluten Free & Vegan)
- 2 Tbsp oil from the top of a jar of natural crunchy peanut butter
- 1/2 cup of the peanut butter at the bottom of a jar of natural crunchy peanut butter
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) vegan butter, melted
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup pure cane sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed orange (or mandarin, or tangerine, or clementine) juice
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
- 2/3 cup toasted almonds, chopped
- 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes (OR unsweetened flakes)
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- Place 2 oven racks in center position. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line two half-sheet baking pans (large cookie sheets) with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together separated peanut oil and peanut butter with melted vegan butter until smooth.
- Add maple syrup, sugars, salt, vanilla, cinnamon and orange juice. Stir.
- In a separate bowl, combine oats, toasted nuts and coconut flakes. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ones.
- Divide granola mixture between the two prepared pans and smooth to level.
- Place pans in oven, one on each oven rack. Bake for 20 minutes at 300. Switch bottom pan to top rack and top pan to bottom rack. Bake 20 minutes more. Switch pans again. Bake another 15 minutes. Check to see if granola has baked to an even brown. Bake up to 5 minutes more, being careful not to over brown. Remove granola from oven. Slide parchment sheets with granola on them onto cooling racks. Granola will be pliable when first removed from oven, but will crisp up to crunchy texture as it cools.
- Once cool, break up granola. Toss with dried fruits. Place in a large glass jar with tight lid to store.