banana bread granola
There's something about a piece of hot banana bread right out of the oven. Am I right? The problem, however, is that the odds that I'll consume the entire loaf within two days, is inevitable, and after scouring the internet I realized there had to be another way to utilize overripe bananas. After finding a recipe from The Minimalist Baker [who if you're not following, get on her email list, now - yes, literally now] I've tweaked the recipe to what better suits mine and Frank's tastes, and what more likely we have in the pantry.
What I love best about this granola is the large, crunchy bites, with just the right level of sweetness to contrast the little bit of salt and chopped nuts. But what might in fact be better, is that everything is likely already on your shelves, can be easily edited to your liking, and done in 45 minutes. Lets add it's dairy free, gluten free and refined sugar free - but you wouldn't know it, as you won't be able to stop eating it.
First start by preheating your oven - and while it warms to temperature you can prep the wet ingredients. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt together coconut oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Bring to just a slight simmer. Then we want to add in mashed bananas. I like to use those bananas that you're kind of scared to peel, those tend to be the most sweet. I try to roll them on the counter before I peel them to help squish it all up - but a potato masher will work just as well in the saucepan. Once mixed, turn off the heat and let cool while you prep the dry ingredients.
In a medium mixing bowl combine oats, chia seeds, chopped nuts, cinnamon and nutmeg. This is where I like to play with the recipe. You can literally change anything and everything as long as you have at least the oats. I like to do half quick oats, and half old fashioned as it helps make bigger chunks. I also prefer to use mixed nuts, but you certainly could pick your favorite or omit them completely. I also enjoy putting flax seed or other spices depending on what I have available. In this particular recipe I did 2 cups quick oats to 1 cup old fashioned, and a half cup of mixed [unsalted] nuts. Get creative - throw in cacao nibs, chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, a scoop of peanut or almond butter will also compliment the banana nicely. Keep in mind, the more quick oats you do, the longer cooking time you'll need.
Give the dry ingredients a quick stir and pour the wet mixture into it. Stir completely to make sure its nicely coated. It will feel mushy and look nothing like granola - don't be worried! Spread evenly on a lightly greased sheet pan and put into the oven.
The best tip I've ever been given for baking - when it starts to smell good, it means its on its way to be done. Give it about 15 minutes and do not, I repeat do not stir. The longer it sits and more chunky and crunchy it gets. That's how I prefer it, if you like yours smaller, then stir away. After that first 15 minutes, keep an eye on it, as it can brown very quickly - I tend to stir and shake it every 5-10 minutes to make sure it browns evenly. Depending on your proportions of quick to old fashioned oats will vary your cooking time, anywhere from 30-45 minutes. This particular batch was in the oven for about 38 minutes. Once browned to your liking, remove from oven and let cool. It'll get more crunchy as it cools. Store in an airtight container, and while I'm sure it can last more than a week, it never does in our house.
Frank likes it best with yogurt, while I'll eat it with a splash of almond milk or on top of oatmeal, but we both agree by the fistful is best.
Lets get cooking!
Banana Bread Granola
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30-45 minutes
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
2 mashed overripe bananas
3 cups of oats [any variation of quick or old fashioned]
3 tablespoons of chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts [any variety, and add as much as you'd like]
optional add-ins: chocolate chips, cacao nibs, nut butters, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, cocoa powder, other spices, etc.
Preheat oven to 375
In a small saucepan over medium heat mash together all wet ingredients and bring to a light simmer. Once mixed remove from heat.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients and give a quick stir.
Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix thoroughly, making sure to scoop the bottom of the bowl to get it all!
Spread evenly on a lightly greased baking sheet and place into oven.
After 15-20 minutes when its just starting to brown, flip and stir. Place back in oven and stir every 5-10 minutes until golden brown.
Once browned, remove from oven and allow to cool completely before putting into an airtight container.