I was sipping wine with another blogger friend earlier in the week (Hi Erin!) and we were discussing how we just weren’t ready for this season to end. Yes, it might be 90 degrees and humid as all get out, but I would rather be able to side on a patio in the shade than freeze my buns off scurrying into an overheated restaurant for happy hour, hands down. Of course, our discussion turned to food and we both agreed that we were just not ready to pull out the pumpkin and fall flavors quite yet, just not now at least. I know September is here and fall is knocking on our door, but I just can’t. Not yet! For me, it’s more about holding onto what is left of summer and savoring the days, rather than hurrying up and getting to Halloween (WHAT) already. This brings me to my next point, which is, don’t be like me and make granola in your very old and very hot house on a 90 degree day while also running around the house doing a million other things. You will feel like you are living inside your oven and you will be desperate to stick your head in the freezer. Just a word to the wise!
This batch of banana bread granola was actually born out of a lot of recipe flops this week. I had a peach pie that turned out tasting like pillows of peaches and cream heaven, but looked crazy and had a crust that wouldn’t budge out of the pie pan. Second recipe was a batch of pecan praline cookies and just were off, in all kinds of ways. Not sweet enough, too chewy and honestly, I remembered that I don’t love pecans enough to eat an entire cookie filled with them. I even tried to salvage the batch of cookies by dipping them in chocolate, but they were still bound to the trash can. C’est la vie! So yesterday, when I set out to make a recipe, I just needed it to work. After a few flops, I really just needed one thing to work and to have that ‘ah ha!’ success of finally nailing the perfect banana bread granola. Alas, it worked! I was picking pieces of this granola hot out of the pan, burning my fingers and mouth in the process, but it felt so good to finally have a recipe that just worked out. Bonus points, it’s super easy too! The extra long bake time is due to all the moisture that the bananas bring to the granola, but it’s worth the wait. Baking the granola for longer draws out all the moisture, but still leaves that banana bread-like flavor. Plus, who doesn’t like something that can do triple duty as breakfast/snack/dessert?
While I was searching around my site, I discovered I have several granola recipes, so I might be a little into homemade granola, just maybe?
Dark Chocolate Banana Bread Granola
- 1-2 ripe bananas
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 3/4 cup sliced almonds
- 3/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoons grated nutmeg the fresh stuff is the best!
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
- 1/3 cup chopped dark chocolate
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat and set aside.
In a medium bowl, blend together the bananas, olive oil, extracts, maple syrup and brown sugar. The number of bananas you use is going to depend on how much of a banana flavor you want. Use a hand mixer on medium to blend together thoroughly and to ensure that all the banana chunks get smoothed out. You want a smooth mixture with no chunks! Set bowl aside.
In a large bowl, stir together the oats, almonds, coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flaxseed. Pour the banana mixture over the oat mixture and stir together until totally combined. Spread the mixture out evenly onto the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 45-60 minutes. Start checking the mixture about 45 minutes, just to make sure it doesn't burn at the edges.
Cool and store in a covered container for up to a week.