peanut butter chai granola bars...or just granola

IMGP0701 Ok. I've been trying to make decent granola bars for about a year now. They are always okay...but never great. They also never stay bars...more like large granola chunks. So this Sunday I decided to be okay with the large chunks and go for it using my own recipe. As you know, when I cook for myself (not using a recipe) I very rarely measure anything...and of course I am not talking about baking. For that (if I even try it at all) I use a recipe and still fail miserably.

Granola is one of those sweet treats that doesn't require exact amounts of anything, thus I run straight for it. I was shocked how good this turned out. Feel free to play with any measurements given...I certainly do! Happy to share! And before you get stressed out, I know that's a crap ton of ingredients...don't worry, this is not hard.

Peanut Butter Chai Granola

Ingredients

body of granola: 4 cups rolled oats 2 cups toasted wheat germ 3 cups rice crispies 1/2 cup of flax seeds 1 cup shredded coconut 4 tbsp melted vegan butter (I use soy free Earth Balance) 1/3 cup canola oil couple handfuls of raw almonds couple handfuls of raw cashews couple handfuls of golden raisins ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and cardamom to taste

binding/coating:

2 tbsp coconut oil 1 tbsp of vanilla extract 1/4 cup of molasses 2/3 cup brown sugar 1/3 cup coconut sugar 1/2 cup of natural, unsweetened peanut butter 1/2 cup of coconut water

In big huge bowl, toss oats and shredded coconut with melted butter, kosher salt, and canola oil. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet and toast at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Once this is finished, add toasted mixture back to big bowl and add all other ingredients in top list. Toss to evenly distribute ingredients and insure that spices coat everything.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring all ingredients for binding/coating to a boil, whisking vigorously. Once hot and bubbly and fully combined, pour over granola mixture while simultaneously tossing/stirring with rubber spatula. Continue to stir/toss until all pieces are evenly coated with sugar mixture.

Spread granola out on the same rimmed baking sheet and press evenly to all sides. Reduce oven temp to 325 degrees and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. Let cool and then slice. And inevitably break/crumble into granola. Enjoy! IMGP0703IMGP0700