I consider myself to be a granola connoisseur. Of course I do.
Granted, there wasn’t any contest, although if there had been, I would have said, “sign me up,” especially if the prize included a bedazzled crown and maybe even a scepter. I like the idea of carrying a big shiny stick, although speaking softly has never been my forte.
Had there been a granola making contest, I like to think I would have won. Then again, a healthy self-esteem has never been a problem for me, at least not since the days of my youth. The funny thing about aging, minus the wrinkles, the force of gravity, and the grey hairs, is the older you get, the more confident you get. It comes with a shred of wisdom too, or at least that’s what I tell myself. I find it to be soothing to my ego, and I like to keep her happy whenever possible.
I’m not really sure what any of that has to do with granola other than to say I’ve been around the block a few times, in a scandal free way. I like granola, and I make it on an almost weekly basis. I eat it just as often too, which is why I’m always tinkering with new flavors. It’s important to mix things up from time to time; it makes life interesting.
This latest version has been a work in progress for months and months now. With each batch, I’d make one subtle change and then seek out the feedback of others because as much as I think I’m a rock star, it can’t hurt to get some additional opinions, especially when it comes to a recipe I’m sharing with the masses. I might have gone a little overboard though (who me?) because after the umpteenth taste testing, I was receiving conflicting observations, which left me scratching my head. It got to the point where I wasn’t even sure which batch was better anymore. By the time I baked this last go around on Tuesday night, I was questioning my own skills.
With an air of uncertainly, I removed my granola from the oven and set it on my cooktop to cool. I took one sample bite and promptly burned myself. Intrigued and pleasantly surprised with the overall flavor, I went back for another spoonful and burnt myself yet again. As I stood over my stove, spooning more and more into my mouth, despite racking up the first degree burns, I realized if it’s worth burning myself repeatedly, it’s definitely worth sharing.
This Banana Bread granola has a suggestive banana flavor, coupled with a dollop of sweetness from the dates and the maple syrup. I avoid using refined sugars in my granola recipes because I don’t find them to be necessary. Also I like to keep things on the healthier end, so long as I’m not sacrificing flavor. This granola fits that bill.
Dates are a most welcome addition as well, since along with sweetness, they bring an impressive list of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. They also have been known to replenish energy and revitalize the body instantly, which makes this granola a pleasant pick me up. It’s also packed with walnuts, a healthy fat, which comes with it’s own laundry list of health benefits, including cancer fighting properties and supporting brain health. They’re also brimming with antioxidants, and we all know I’m a fan of anything which might make me look younger.
Basically, my Banana Bread Granola not only tastes good enough to burn your mouth for, but it’s healthy for you too, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, although I still would like a scepter.
- 3 cups Rolled Oats
- 1 cup Sweetened Banana Chips, diced small.
- 2 cups Walnuts, chopped.
- 3 Tbsps. Flax Powder or Wheat Germ
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
- 2 tsps. Vanilla Extract
- 1/3 cup Oil of choice; I used organic Canola Oil.
- 1/2 cup Maple Syrup
- 1 cup Dates, diced small.
- Preheat over to 300, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine dry ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly (from the rolled oats through to the cinnamon).
- Add in vanilla extract and your oil of choice. Mix to coat everything. Add in the maple syrup, stirring to coat everything. Mix in your diced dates.
- Once combined, spoon mixture onto a baking sheet. Leave clumped together. Do not spread out on the baking sheet.
- Bake at 300 for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
- Will keep in an airtight container for several weeks.
- If you like your granola on the crunchier side, you can cook it longer.
- Also, if you like big clusters, don’t stir once you remove it from the oven. When it cools, it will harden into clusters.
Are you a fan of granola? Do you make your own? Any particular flavor profile you’d like to see me dabble with next?