This past weekend, I was yearning for the 3 Ingredient No Bake Peanut Butter Oat Squares, which were devoured quickly thanks to the squares being suitable at any time of the day. (This was confirmed through diligent research.) With my cupboard desperate for another peanut butter snack, I decided to use Jif’s Peanut Butter & Naturally Flavored Cinnamon Spread to make Peanut Butter Cup Coconut Granola, a recipe from Trail Jenny.
- 4 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup Jif’s Peanut Butter & Naturally Flavored Cinnamon Spread
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
Instructions (from Trail Jenny):
- Preheat over to 300° F.
- Combine the oats, coconut flakes, and brown sugar in a large bowl.
- In a small saucepan, melt the peanut butter and honey over low heat. Stir in the salt.
- Pour the peanut butter mixture over the oat mixture, and toss to coat evenly.
- Spread the oat mixture onto a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate over the oats. Mix gently to distribute the chocolate through the oats, but don’t over-mix.
- Once cool, store in an airtight container.
Time to Prepare: 35 minutes (15 minutes for prep and 20 minutes for baking)
A few notes about the ingredients and the recipe. First, Trail Jenny’s recipe calls for unsweetened coconut flakes, but I used sweetened coconut flakes because I absolutely love coconut as a topping. (That, and I didn’t notice the “unsweetened” until my wonderful wife bought the coconut flakes from Target, which didn’t have any unsweetened coconut flakes in stock. Full transparency.) Second, the original recipe calls for dark chocolate or chocolate chips, so feel free to mix it up. I used semi-sweet chocolate chips because that’s what was available at home. Next time I make this recipe, I’ll use dark chocolate because, as mentioned in my review of Peanut Butter & Co.’s White Chocolate Wonderful, dark chocolate is my favorite kind of chocolate. Lastly, and still on the subject of the chocolate, you’ll notice that I melted my chocolate chips prior to drizzling the chocolate onto the baked granola. This was due to a misunderstanding of the recipe on my part, as after re-reading the original recipe and checking out the pictures, it looks like the only melting of the chocolate occurs naturally after they’re mixed in with the still-hot baked granola. It probably didn’t alter the taste much, but I’d recommend not melting the chocolate prior to mixing it in. It’s easier, and I think the texture would be more enjoyable.
Pictured above is perhaps my most pleasant baking experience in recent memory, and Jif’s Peanut Butter & Naturally Flavored Cinnamon Spread deserves all the credit. Just a few seconds after melting the honey and peanut butter, this wonderful cinnamon aroma filled the kitchen. Seriously, I felt like one of those cartoon characters whose starts floating above the ground, eyes closed, slowly drifting toward the source of a scent (visible on the screen, and usually leading some sort of trap). I even left the heat on about 30 second after the mixture was complete JUST to let the pan emit more of that cinnamon-honey-peanut butter goodness.
I noted (errr…admitted) above that I used sweetened coconut flakes instead of the unsweetened flakes called for in the original recipe. My recommendation is that, if you’re like me and you enjoy coconut, then go with the sweetened flakes. After a few handfuls, the coconut is undoubtedly my favorite part of the finished recipe. This was a little surprising, as I’m not used to having coconut in my granola, but I found that the coconut really added another dimension to the granola.
After the coconut, my second favorite-tasting ingredient is, of course, the peanut butter. The tastes of cinnamon and other spices mentioned in my review of Jif’s Peanut Butter & Naturally Flavored Cinnamon Spread aren’t as present here (probably due to the peanut butter being mixed in with several other ingredients), but I still tasted hints of these flavors when I had bites with larger amounts of peanut butter. But, as mentioned above, Jif’s Peanut Butter & Naturally Flavored Cinnamon Spread is worth using for the smell alone when melting it with the honey.
If you don’t go through the trouble of melting the chocolate (which, again, isn’t called for in the original recipe and was a mistake on my part), then this is a very easy recipe to make. Aside from the notes I made above, the only thing I would do differently next time is spend a little more time blending the peanut butter-and-honey mixture in with the oat mixture. The peanut butter wasn’t as evenly distributed throughout the granola as I would have liked, and this led to different tastes with each bite. Also, mixing in the peanut butter more evenly would have led to fewer loose oats in the final product. Still, the granola tastes delicious, and I can’t wait to have tomorrow morning in a bowl of cereal, later with some vanilla yogurt, and, if all goes according to plan, topped on some vanilla bean ice cream for dessert!
If you’ve tried this recipe before or plan on trying it in the near future, let me know in the comments below! Otherwise, feel free to suggest other recipes, especially those where you think Jif’s Peanut Butter & Naturally Flavored Cinnamon Spread would fit in nicely.