I took some much needed time off from the internet and social media the last two weeks because of everything that has been going on. It isn’t always easy to know the right thing to say or do in these situations, especially being a person of color myself. I took this time to learn and read as much of the resources going around as possible. We’re always learning, even as adults. This blog is and has always been something I do for fun. It has given me the opportunity to publish a cookbook, receive freelance photography work and partner with different brands and companies. It is a full-time job and at times when I am feeling overwhelmed, I have to remind myself that I’m very fortunate to be able to do something every day that I love. I try to never take it for granted, but I’ve been doing this for over 8 years now and it isn’t always easy. The current events and the entire Bon Appétit shake up has really put things into perspective for me. What makes this country so great is that you’ll find people from all different backgrounds here. We don’t have to speak the same language or look the same to able to understand each other. My favorite thing about food is that it has the ability to bring people together. We might have some differences between one another but at the end of the day, food is the one thing that unites us all. It brings us joy. It teaches us. It motivates us. We’ve experienced the power of food first hand with this quarantine. We’ve made the banana bread and sourdough. We’ve tried new recipes and pushed ourselves from our kitchen comfort zones. Baking and cooking has helped us cope with this pandemic, and it will continue to help us get through these rough times, because it will get better. We will get better.
The peanut butter part comes in the form a very addicting (not so healthy) peanut butter granola. It’s so simple to make and you’ll probably want to make a double batch at the start of the week because it’s that addicting. In a medium saucepan, combine the peanut butter, corn syrup, maple syrup, brown sugar and butter. Set over moderate heat and bring up to a simmer.
**Note: If you’re iffy about using corn syrup, you can swap it out for honey instead if you’d prefer. I forgot to pick up honey from the store that day and so I looked into my pantry and found some corn syrup. It’ll work with either or.**
Give it a stir and continue to cook on a low boil for 2 minutes, making sure to stir constantly at this point so that it doesn’t burn. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and salt.
In a large bowl, one much larger than the one I used, toss together the old-fashioned oats, roughly chopped walnuts, and cheerios.
**Note: I’m a sucker for granola with breakfast cereal in it. I used Honey Nut Cheerios but you can use plain or even plain cornflakes would be great in here as well! If you can find Peanut Butter Cheerios, those would be AMAZING here!**
Add in the peanut butter syrup mixture and quickly toss with a rubber spatula until evenly combined and well-coated. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and spread out in a single layer.
**Tip: You want to work as quickly as possible while the peanut butter mixture is still warm because it’ll be much easier to stir and evenly coat all of the granola. If you find that your syrup has thickened up too much and isn’t pourable, you can set it over low flame and cook until it loosens up again!**
Bake in a preheated 350°F oven until golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Make sure to not stir the mixture at all during baking, just leave it alone. Remove from the oven and let the granola cool completely on the pan without touching.
**Tip: By not stirring it and not touching it while it cools, it’ll allow the granola to really firm up and create those clusters. Stirring it while cooking will break it up too much and not allow it to clump up.**
Once cooled, add in the dried banana chips and peanut butter chips (if using) and toss it all together, breaking the granola into clusters of varying sizes with your hands.
**Tip: If you can’t find peanut butter chips, you can leave them out or you can use butterscotch or even dark chocolate chips instead!**
At this point you can use the granola right away or transfer it to an airtight container or large plastic food storage bag and keep it at room temperature for up to a week.
To make the parfaits, fill small serving glasses or small bowls about halfway up with yogurt. Top with a heaping amount of granola and fresh banana slices. You’ll want to add the banana slices right before serving so that they don’t brown.
The yogurt base is up to you. You can use plain or vanilla yogurt or Greek yogurt or whatever your favorite flavor happens to be! If you want to really bring out that banana flavor, try a banana yogurt! The granola is also just great all by itself with your favorite type of milk.
The next time you’re looking to spruce up your breakfast or brunch menu, I hope you’ll keep these in mind. But like I’ve mentioned above, the granola is great all by itself. Make it at the start of the week and keep it on hand, or make it and give it out as gifts to family and friends, I’m sure they would appreciate it just as much! If you have any questions about substitutions, let me know below. Or if you make it, I’d love to hear what you think! As always, stay safe my friends.
- ¼ cup smooth peanut butter (the non-organic kind)
- ¼ cup light corn syrup (or honey)
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2½ cups old fashioned oats
- 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1½ cups Cheerios (plain or honey nut)
- 1 cup dried banana chips
- ½ cup peanut butter chips (optional)
- 2 cups plain or vanilla yogurt
- 3 to 4 medium bananas, sliced
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the peanut butter, corn syrup, maple syrup, brown sugar and butter. Set over moderate heat and bring up to a simmer. Give it a stir and continue to cook on a low boil for 2 minutes, making sure to stir constantly. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla and salt.
- In a large bowl, toss together the oatmeal, walnuts, and cheerios. Add in the peanut butter syrup mixture and quickly toss with a rubber spatula until evenly combined and well-coated. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and spread out in a single layer. Bake until golden brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Make sure to not stir the mixture at all during baking, just leave it alone. Remove from the oven and let the granola cool completely on the pan without touching. Once cooled, add in the banana chips and peanut butter chips if using and break it up into clusters with your hands. Use right away or transfer to an airtight container and keep at room temperature for up to a week.
- To make the parfaits, fill small serving glasses about halfway up with yogurt. Top with the granola and fresh banana slices. Enjoy!