banana & peanut butter granola clusters

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I’m back with another granola recipe. Of course.

This granola could be expressed as a logical syllogism:

All granola recipes need a sweetener.

Some bananas are (very) sweet.

∴ Some bananas can be granola sweeteners.

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That’s how my thinking regarding this granola went. I’m occasionally alarmed – though usually I don’t let it bother me – at the vast quantities of agave syrup, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, and honey that are consumed by the batches and batches of granola I make. So, in an attempt to escape from the cauldron of semi-processed liquid sweetener into which I had fallen, I decided to experiment with just using fruit as a sweetener.IMG_5394

Mid-way through last semester I conducted my first experiments with granola sweetened with blueberry and strawberry purees, respectively. They were an utter failure. I could neither taste the blueberry or strawberry flavor nor detect any sweetness. In the end I was forced to add brown sugar to my already baked granola, and during the rest of the semester I made it palatable by mixing it in with my other, far more tasty granola varieties.

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Over spring break I tried again, this time with bananas. Success! Lightly sweetened granola sans liquid sweetener! Granted, the actual banana flavor is mostly masked by the peanut butter and nutmeg, but that’s because I like peanut butter. If you want more banana flavor, I’d say reduce the peanut butter and cut out some of the nutmeg, which may or may not work. Regardless, using the ripest, sweetest bananas it tantamount. Got bananas covered in black spots? Use those. Mostly blackened bananas you stuck in the freezer to save for banana bread? Those ones.

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Riper bananas are sweeter bananas.

Sweeter bananas make sweeter granola.

Sweeter granola is better granola.

∴ The riper the bananas, the sweeter the granola.

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This granola is marvelously crunchy and full of big clusters. It is just a good a snack as it is a breakfast cereal. Believe me, I know. In a fit of snackishness, I went through a good fourth (third?) of a batch in one evening. That was a delicious mistake. Now I’m stranded here at school, carefully rationing out my granola and raiding the dining hall for pumpkin seeds and peanuts to use as filler to bolster my stock. If I’m careful, I think I may just make it through the last three weeks of classes. Maybe.

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Banana & Peanut Butter Granola Clusters

  • 4 cups oats
  • 1/4 cup flax meal (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 very ripe bananas (should be ~1 cup pureed)
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup roasted peanuts
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Toss the bananas, peanut butter, and vanilla into a food processor and blend until smooth.  In a large bowl stir together the oats, flax, salt, and nutmeg. Add the banana puree and stir until all of the oats are evenly coated.

Spread the granola on a cookie sheet or two and bake for 60 to 75 minutes at 300°F, until crunchy and slightly golden. Add the roasted peanuts and golden raisins. Enjoy with milk, on yogurt, or by the handful!

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