At the beginning of this month, I had to work a week of night shifts.  One thing that makes nights tough for me is that I get really hungry!  It makes sense, considering that I get less sleep than usual and I am expending more energy.  And despite that fact that I work in a hospital, there are not always a lot of healthy food options readily available.  I tried to bring somewhat healthy snacks with me like fresh fruit, yogurt, and some of this granola.  I liked to eat this mixed in with my vanilla yogurt and it is great!

Overall I was very happy with how this granola turned out, although the peanut butter flavor did not come through as much as I would have liked.  Next time I will add more peanut butter to the mixture, as well as mix in some honey-roasted peanuts after the granola is baked to bring out that flavor.  I have reflected these changes in the recipe below.  The addition of the bittersweet chocolate chunks is obviously optional, but I thought they added a nice amount of sweetness to the granola since it isn’t overly sweet on its own.  I prefer the chocolate in chunks but you could add it to the granola just after it is still warm from the oven to melt it a bit and blend it in to the granola further.  Enjoy!

Banana Peanut Butter Granola
3 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 1/2 cups puffed rice cereal
2 tbsp. honey
1/3 cup applesauce
1/3 cup mashed bananas
1/3-1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, warmed slightly
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
1-1 1/2 cups dried banana chips
1/2 cup honey roasted peanuts
3-4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the rolled oats and puffed rice cereal.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the  honey, applesauce, mashed banana, peanut butter, salt, cinnamon and brown sugar until smooth.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until the oat mixture is evenly coated.  Spread onto the prepared baking sheet in a thick even layer.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Then, using a large spatula, turn the granola over in segments.  Bake for an additional 15 minutes.  Depending on the size of your baking sheet, the center may not be fully dried.  If necessary, remove the edges of cooked granola and bake the remaining granola for 10-15 minutes more or until done, being careful not to over-bake.  Cool on a wire rack.

Once the granola has cooled, crumble it into a large bowl or plastic bag.  Add in the dried banana chips, honey roasted peanuts and bittersweet chocolate, if using.  Mix well to combine.  Store in an airtight container. 

Source: Annie’s Eats original