Breakfast, Granola, Recipes

Cinnamon Applesauce Granola

There’s nothing better than a good granola. I love having some around on a regular basis as topping for yogurt or to enjoy as a quick snack. Truthfully, half the time I make granola I don’t even bother to photograph and share it here because I think it’s not good enough. Not crunchy enough. Missing those chunks. Too plain. Blah, blah, blah.

Cinnamon Applesauce Granola | The Pajama Chef

In fact, I’ve made several batches of this basic granola without sharing it. But recently as I was eating it I just decided enough was enough. This granola may not be fancy–it doesn’t even have any dried fruit in it, and the walnuts were a last minute [fabulous!!] addition–but it is what we like, and so gosh darn it I’m gonna share it!! 🙂 So I ran outside after I got home, photographed the granola, and am sharing the recipe the very next day. Who am I??!

Cinnamon Applesauce Granola | The Pajama Chef

Well, truthfully, I don’t know, but what I do know is this: I love this granola! It is perfect and pretty much incapable of being screwed up. It’s fairly lowfat and is just sweet enough for my tastes, which means it’s healthy, right? 🙂 The use of the applesauce not only keeps the fat down while still allowing for a crunchy texture, but it also adds a subtle apple flavor. Paired with its classic cinnamon counterpart, this is one flavorful granola! Add in a couple kinds of nuts and some chewy coconut and you won’t even miss the extra sugar or dried fruit [though you can certainly add either if that’s your thing]. I’ve pretty much decided that this is now my go-to granola. It’s crunchy, flavorful, and interesting–and as long as you refrain from stirring too much, those much loved chunks of granola remain after baking. Winner in my book. I know it will be in yours too!

Cinnamon Applesauce Granola | The Pajama Chef

Cinnamon Applesauce Granola [adapted from Macaroni and Cheesecake]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup natural, no sugar added applesauce
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment or a silpat.

In a small saucepan set over low, combine applesauce, brown sugar, honey, and oil. Stir together until sugar melts and mixture is warm. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, toss together oats, walnuts, wheat germ, coconut, sunflower seeds, and cinnamon. Gradually pour applesauce mixture over oats, stirring to fully coat. Transfer mixture onto prepared baking sheet, then press down firmly with the back of a spatula.

Bake for 45 minutes, stirring once or twice. [If granola starts to burn or get too dark, especially after 30 minutes, cover loosely with foil].

Time: 60 minutes.

Yield: 6 cups.

 

Breakfast, Granola, Recipes

Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars

So, I used to post once a month on a blog called Today’s Housewife. Last fall, the group decided together to stop posting due the busyness of life and families and such. Though sad, I enjoyed being part of the group. As of early January, the blog was officially taken down. But I don’t want to lose my recipes, so periodically I will be reposting them on here. Enjoy!

~

from April 12, 2012… these still get alot of traffic from my blog, even though the link is broken! and I figured it was high time to have the recipe here too!

I love granola bars. Love them for a snack after a workout, love them as a sweet treat in my brown bag [well, pink and black insulated tote] lunch, love them any time… day or night. But you know what I don’t love? I don’t love that my favorite varieties are sold for at least $1 a piece, and that the cheap kinds taste like cardboard and still run $3 for 8-10. $3 for a mediocre processed, packaged snack that contains tons of chemicals and/or preservatives? No thanks, I’ll make my own.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars | The Pajama Chef

I’ve had a few successes in the homemade granola bar department… Chewy Granola Bars–your classic character with dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate chips as mix-ins. Or perhaps, Fruit and Nut Granola Bars are more your thing–they’re a little softer with more variety inside. Lastly, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Energy Bars–a crispy granola bar with a fall-flavored twist.

Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars | The Pajama Chef

These Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars are different. They’re more substantial. Flavorful and filling, but not heavy and dense. Sweet and salty. Pretty much unbelievable, til you try them. And you should, because they’re made up of mostly pantry ingredients, and take virtually no time to whip up. I promise they’ll make your lunchtime and snacktime fabulous!

Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars [adjusted from How Sweet Eats]

click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup puffed rice cereal
  • 1 cup crushed salted pretzels
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed or wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped dry roasted or honey roasted peanuts
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients: oats, cereal, pretzels, flax/wheat germ, brown sugar, flour, and peanuts. Then, add peanut butter and mix with a spoon or your hands to create a rough “dough.” This should take about 5 minutes.

In a smaller bowl, combine butter, vanilla, and honey. Pour into peanut butter dough and stir to combine completely. Fold in chocolate chips and coconut flakes.

Press dough into prepared pan, then bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. But don’t forget the golden rule of granola–it always hardens as it cools, so don’t overcook it! Let pan cool completely before cutting, refrigerating for an added chill if necessary. I let my granola bars cool overnight before cutting just to be safe.

Time: 40 minutes. [15 minutes active].

Yield: 18 servings.

Linked with: Weekend Potluck.

Breakfast, Granola, Recipes

No Bake Tropical Energy Bites

So, as you guys know, I’ve been furiously writing away on my thesis for the past few weeks. I worked on it before, but I took a break from my campus jobs to really focus. That helped… but you wanna know what really helped? These awesome, tropical little bites of energy! Enjoying a treat full of coconut, apricot, mango, and white chocolate makes the tedious just a lil bit better!

So many good things could be said about these little treats. I think the most important thing about them [besides their fun flavors!] is that they are little! I’ve always loved cute little things like these pumpkin chocolate chip muffins [sorry about the photo, I reallllllllly need to update the pic of these muffins for the blog] or way back in the day [circa 5th grade], those mini poptarts. Anyone remember them? My favorite flavor was grape or wildberry or something like that… they were so small you couldn’t put them in the toaster, and I used to beg my mom to let me eat them on the way to the bus stop. No idea why, but she never liked the idea because then it meant I couldn’t brush my teeth after eating. I thought that was the dumbestexcuseeverughmomnooooooo! Now, I wouldn’t really dream of eating poptarts, especially not on the way to the bus stop, because I’m obsessed with brushing my teeth. Go figure.

Well, these energy bites are most assuredly not mini poptarts, but they are just as tasty [if not more so!!]. These energy bites are sweet, filling, and a snap to throw together. They literally take 5 minutes to stir together and another 5-10 to shape. Add in some downtime in the middle to chill [perhaps during your favorite TV show? Or while reading a “scholarly” article…sigh.], and you’re ready to go.

I stored them in the fridge and loved taking the first gloriously cold, slightly sticky bite. Indulgent and delightful, I say. [Ben ate them in one bite and just said yum.] Whatever you say, just be sure to make them soon. I wish I had more right now! Anyone wanna send me a care package? 🙂

No Bake Tropical Energy Bites [inspired by these energy bites]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup coconut flakes [I used sweetened but unsweetened would work too]
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots, diced
  • 1/3 cup dried mango, diced
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil [melt on low heat in the microwave to bring to liquid consistency for easier stirring]
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

In a large bowl, stir together oats, coconut, apricots, mango, and white chocolate chips. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together honey, oil, and extracts. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, then stir to combine.

Let chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up, then roll into heaping tablespoon-sized balls. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week [if they last that long] and enjoy!

Time: 45 minutes [15 minutes active].

Yield: about 2 dozen bites.

Breakfast, Granola, Recipes

Mango Coconut Granola

Quiz time… what do I love but never buy?

GRANOLA!

Okay, that might have been a wee bit obvious judging from the title of this post, but alas… no permanent harm done.

Seriously though, I just don’t understand how companies that sell 10-12 ounce bags of granola for SIX to EIGHT dollars apiece each stay in business. [Please excuse my internet shouting. I get worked up about overpriced items. I’m cheap frugal.] I get why they have to charge those prices… many of the granola brands I’m thinking of are organic, have a variety of nuts or special sweeteners or dried fruit, etc. And the company has to pay its employees and stay in business too, of course. That’s all well and good, and these pricy granolas are mighty tasty. But for the time being, I can’t justify paying that much moolah for one portion of my breakfast that will be finished in a week, tops. Yup, grad student speaking here. So what do I do? Make my own!

I’ve actually been making quite a few different versions of granola that I haven’t blogged about over the past threeish months… mainly because I have so many recipes in the queue that are frankly more exciting. This time though, nothing is holding me back! This Mango Coconut Granola is a tropical treat. It is officially my favorite granola of all time, a prestigious title to be sure.

So what makes this granola so great? Well, let’s see. Quiz time again.

Is it:

a) the triple punch of coconut [oil, flakes, extract]?
b) the use of almonds, the greatest nut ever?
c) the use of very expensive dried mango that my grandpa bought me at Costco?
d) all of the above.

If you picked d, you are very, very smart.

Coconut times three plus almonds plus dried mangoes just cannot be beat, even though I realize that if I added up the cost of the ingredients for this granola they might rival the expensive brands. No bother though–making things at home is part of the fun, and if you can have homemade, crunchy, flavorful granola… why wouldn’t you?

So far, my favorite way to eat this awesome granola has been with Mango Chobani and blueberries, but it’s also great with any other fruit/yogurt combo.

By the way, in case you’re interested, I’ve recently started playing with instagram a lot. 🙂 I’ve had it since I got my iPhone but never really used it til this summer. If you want to follow me, I’m @thepajamachef. Be sure to leave your username in the comments too so I can follow you back! Thanks and happy Friday!

Mango Coconut Granola [from Megan’s Cookin’]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup almonds, sliced or chopped
  • 1 1/3 cups sweetened coconut flakes, divided [could use unsweetened]
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar [if using unsweetened coconut, could increase to 1/2 cup brown sugar]
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/3 cup dried mango, chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine oats, almonds, 1 cup coconut, and brown sugar. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together coconut oil, honey, and cinnamon, then add vanilla and coconut extracts. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix well.

Press mixture evenly into baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then stir, press again, and bake for another 15 minutes. Cool completely, then add dried mango and remaining 1/3 cup coconut flakes. Store in an airtight container.

Time: 45 minutes [15 minutes active]

Yield: about 9 cups.

Breakfast, Granola, Recipes

Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars

EDITED FEBRUARY 26, 2013: recipe is now here on my blog as the original blog is defunct.

They’re sweet. They’re salty. They’re crunchy. They’re the best new addition to your lunchbox. Check out my post on Today’s Housewife for the recipe!