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.

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.

 

Banana-Yogurt Muffins

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Muffins, ya’ll.

Sometimes a girl–or dude–just wants to bake something that’s homemade, but stress free. Muffins are both of those things and they almost never disappoint.

My favorite thing about the humble, homemade muffin is that it can be almost-healthy to actually-healthy–using flours and germs and brans and fruits and healthy fats to boost the health factor. See, most store-bought varieties are packed with enough sugar and other stuff that makes them basically cake. I mean, cake is delicious and sometimes makes the BEST breakfast, but even I can’t go for cake-breakfast everyday. That’s why I love a muffin. It’s a quick bread in a cupcake outfit.

These muffins are of the almost-healthy variety. They use pantry staples and fresh, ripe banana for tenderness and flavor. The sunflower seeds are in there for some crunch–because I can’t resist adding texture to most things. The batter comes together by simply folding the whisked up wet ingredients into the sifted dry ingredients, and uses only a few dishes. The baked muffins are ultra-moist due to the combination of yogurt, banana, and olive oil. The dusting of powdered sugar is totally optional but makes for a pretty and slightly sweeter muffin.

Banana-Yogurt Muffins

Adapted from Donna Hay Modern Classics Book 2

Makes 12 regular muffins. 

For tender and light muffins, be sure to mix the batter until the dry ingredients are just incorporated. Lumpy batter is okay, over-mixing the batter until it’s completely smooth will result in a chewy and dense muffin. 

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup sunflower seeds plus more for sprinkling (optional)

1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used greek yogurt)

2 very ripe bananas, mashed with a fork

2 eggs

1/3 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350*F. Spray/grease or line a muffin tin with paper cups.

Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Toss in the sunflower seeds and mix to combine. In a large measuring cup whisk together the yogurt, banana, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Add the yogurt-banana mixture to the dry mixture and fold with a rubber spatula until just combined. Divide the batter between the 12 prepared muffin cups and bake in the center of the oven for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Can be stored in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

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I do this fun thing when I’m sleeping…and by fun, I mean obnoxious.

Throughout the night I will either kick blankets or hoard them. I may start out the night kicking the blankets right off the bed and onto the floor. Then, I will wake up in the wee hours of the morning, shivering, only to roll myself up into a burrito of warmth. Add my tendency to sleep-talk, and I am a dream (read, nightmare) of a bedmate. I just want to have it all, all at once–blankets, no blankets, conversation, and sleep. I mean, at least I don’t sleep-walk…anymore, right?

These muffins came to be because of my inherent desire to have it all. Yesterday, mid-morning, all I wanted was something warm, pumpkin-y, spiced, streusel AND glaze topped. I wanted the perfect fall muffin–not too sweet so I could glaze it, slightly healthy (pumpkin AND wheat germ, holla!), moist yet sturdy, spiced without getting face-punched, a muffin with a hint of brown butter and a bit of crunch. I made it happen and got my way… as it often goes around here when it comes to muffin baking and blanket-hoarding/shunning.

So, tell me, are you a sleep kicker, blanket stealer, talker or walker? Or, are you the type who, once your head hits the pillow, you’re there to stay?

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins w/ Cream Cheese Glaze

Makes 12-14 muffins (depending on how you fill the cups).

Adapted from Damn Delicious

I reduced the flour from the original recipe and added wheat germ for health and science. I also tinkered with the spices and browned up the butter for good measure. These muffins–sans glaze–are not very sweet, which is how I think a muffin should be. While the insides are moist and tender, a pat of butter smeared on a warm muffin would be totally appropriate. I like to place the streusel in the refrigerator while assembling the batter–I find it encourages more pebbly/rocky streusel as opposed to a crumbly/sandy topping.

Spice Mix:

1/2 heaping teaspoon kosher salt

2 hefty teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Streusel Topping:

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, browned

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup vanilla sugar (or plain or brown)

3 Tablespoons sunflower seeds (optional)

1 teaspoon spice mixture

Muffin batter:

3 Tablespoons wheat germ

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup sugar

remaining spice mixture

1 cup plain pumpkin puree

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, browned

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Glaze:

2 ounces softened cream cheese

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1-3 Tablespoons milk

Preheat your oven to 350*F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease well.

Begin by browning your butter, 1 stick plus 2 tablespoons, divided. Jessica from How Sweet It Is recently posted this great step-by-step. Set aside the butter to cool slightly.

Make the streusel: Mix together 2 tablespoons of the browned butter with flour, sugar, spices, and sunflower seeds, until the mixture clumps together when pinched between your fingers. Place the streusel topping in the refrigerator until ready to use.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the wheat germ, flour, baking powder, sugar, and remaining spice mix. Set aside and in a seperate bowl whisk together pumpkin, remaining butter, eggs, and vanilla. Add the wet mixture to the dry and fold until just combined. Fill the prepared muffin cups 3/4 full (I did 2/3, making them a litte under filled). Sprinkle with the streusel mixture and bake in the center of the oven for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes before glazing. While muffins cool, make the glaze by stirring the softened cream cheese and powdered sugar together, adding milk 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.

Best enjoyed warm from the oven. Can be kept in an airtight container for 3 days.