Butter Pecan Granola

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I cannot even believe there’s only about 1 week left until Christmas. My house has been decorated for a while and I have been wrapping way too many gifts (note to self, next year needs less gifts). The thing is…I have baked exactly zero cookies. I don’t know what’s going on, but I need to make some cookies happen asap. BUT, I have baked 2 batches of this granola for gifting and it is pretty much the equivalent of a cookie in granola form.

A buttery, oat-y, pecan studded, and maple soaked cookie in a granola outfit.

I usually go the coconut or olive oil route with granola, but since tis’ the season and all that jingle-jangley-Christmas-jazz, I went with butter. OH, MAN. Granola game changer. The butter gets that browned flavor from the long, low bake in the oven and mingles with the maple syrup that sweetens the granola in the most perfect, amazing, way. It’ll make your kitchen smell like butter and maple drenched heaven. It’s definitely not you’re health-conscious-crunchy-granola. More like your butter-drenched-sweet-and-decadent type of granola. I couldn’t help but eat a handful (okay, maybe 2) right off the sheet pan, still warm. I mean, the oats make it healthy-ish and the buttery, maple-y, pecan and coconut studded bits make it special and oh-so holiday appropriate. I packed it into jars and added a little tag for a super-easy, super-delicious gift.

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Butter Pecan Granola

Adapted from my Coconut Oil Granola recipe.

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup pecans

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat your oven to 325ºF and lightly grease a baking sheet (I love to use coconut oil spray for this).

In a large mixing bow, combine the oats, pecans, coconut, salt, and cinnamon.

In a small saucepan combine the maple syrup and butter. Heat over medium-high until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Add the maple-butter mixture to the oats mixture and stir to coat completely. Spread the mixture evenly onto the prepared baking sheet and bake in 15 minute intervals, stirring between each, for about 1 hour or until the granola is golden and starting to crisp. It will become more crisp as it cools.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola

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So, I have never been a fan of oatmeal, it’s always been a little mushy-mushy for me. However, these days, I’ve been eating it a lot lately because I know oats are super good for you and it’s a hot, easy breakfast to make on these chilly Michigan mornings. Since I’ve been forcing myself to embrace oatmeal, I usually have it with a little maple syrup and maybe a few pecans or walnuts mixed in, for a bit of sweetness and texture. The other day, though, I was out of my usual mix-ins and opted for a spoonful of peanut butter…and it was so good! So, it got me thinking that peanut butter might just be a great addition to my favorite granola.

And, surprise, it totes was.

I mean, you can’t really go wrong with nutty, creamy peanut butter, crunchy oats, and little chocolate chips. Can you? I don’t think so.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola

I use both honey and maple in this recipe, though you could use just one sweetener if you like. The coconut oil can be subbed for olive oil, if you prefer. Also, chia seeds can be substituted with flax and the mini chips can be replace with whatever chip or chopped bar you like. 

3 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

2 tablespoons chia seeds

scant 1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/3 cup coconut oil

1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 325˚F and line a baking sheet with parchment.

Pour the oats, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon into a bowl.

On the stovetop in a saucepan heat the maple syrup, honey, peanut butter and coconut oil until the peanut butter and oil are melted and the mixture is nicely combined. Pour the peanut butter mixture into the oat mixture and stir to coat evenly. Scrape the mixture onto the baking sheet and spread in an even layer. Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes so the peanut butter does not burn, until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and cool completely before mixing in the mini chocolate chips. Store in an airtight container for well over a week. [/recipe]

Oatmeal Brownies

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If you were married to me, like Sean, then you would know that one of the hazards of being my bed-mate is that I basically sleep like a hibernating bear-wolf and don’t take well to being disturbed. He tells me that sometimes it’s like trying to hug an angry baby, who swears at you. All punching arms and vitriol.

It’s not the cutest, but I seriously am not even aware of it…because I’M ASLEEP. Jeez, let a girl slumber, ya know?

 

Anyway, even though my R.E.M cycle is, obviously, super important to my unconsicous mind, I still feel a touch guilty at times, especially if I learn that one of my sleeping-wild-animal-angry-baby-punches actually makes contact. I don’t want to be a sleep-fighter, ya know? Not that Sean ever holds it against me — he thinks it hilarious, actually — but I still find it necessary to treat him and brownies are always a win with that guy.

These brownies are made with oat flour, buzzed up to a coarse meal in the food processor. They have the littlest bit of chew from the tiny nibs of oat throughout, with an intense chocolate flavor. I’m kind of in love with these brownies, they aren’t messing around when it comes to deep, dark, chocolatey goodness. I added some cinnamon and cayenne for some warmth and because I love spice and chocolate together. The brownies are a little bit crumbly, I suspect from lack of gluten, but I really think it lets their fudge-y nature shine. Not only are these brownies a chocolate dream, they can be certifiably gluten-free with a little attention to the ingredients. Just make sure your oats, chocolate, and cocoa powder were not processed in a plant with wheat/gluten products (i.e. read that label!).

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Oatmeal Brownies

Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen and Alice Medrich’s Best Cocoa Brownies

I made my own oat flour by simply processing it in a food processor. My flour was fairly coarse, which was fine with Sean and I, as we liked the chewy bits throughout the brownies. Process yours finely, or purchase it already milled from the store, if you prefer. I used 1/2 maple syrup and 1/2 sugar to sweeten this recipe, you can use all sugar if you want (brown or white). If you make sure to use oats that are guaranteed gluten-free (as well as cocoa and chocolate) these brownies are gluten-free friendly. Hurray! 

8 Tablespoons unsalted butter

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

1/2 cup oat flour

Preheat your oven to 325˚F. Line an 8×8 inch baking sheet with parchment, leaving an inch or 2 overhang on 2 sides, and grease both the pan and parchment well. Set aside.

In a pan on low heat melt the butter and chocolate, stirring so as not to burn, until smooth and melted. Scrape into a bowl and whisk in the sugar, maple syrup, cocoa, cinnamon, cayenne, salt, and vanilla, until combined completely. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, until combined well. Fold in the oat flour and let the batter rest a few minutes so the oats absorb some of the liquid and begin to soften. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the center of the oven for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownie comes out with a few sticky crumbs. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting. Can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days. [/recipe]