Sticky Salted Caramel + Peanut Butter Granola (Vegan)

Raise your hand if your ready for cozy sweaters, warm drinks, and everything cinnamon...

I can't believe it's already (almost) Fall again! According to the calendar at least. It's still humid and so, so steamy where I live! 
Now, I've never been a huge pumpkin fan, but I still love my fall-y drinks. When the early months of fall roll around I pull out my mug and start filling it up with peppermint hot cocoa (it's never too early for hot cocoa), warm chai tea, and peanut butter lattes. 

Speaking of peanut butter...

I decided to celebrate the season nearing with a batch of homemade granola. Not just any granola though. This granola is everything fall in my opinion. Sticky, caramel and peanut butter clusters with a hint of cinnamon, vanilla, and a finishing dash of sea salt. 
Did I mention it's also vegan, refined sugar, and oil free?

When I was younger, I hated peanut butter. I know! Who could hate peanut butter? I guess I just didn't like how thick my dad would spread it on when he made my PB&H's (peanut butter & honey). It overpowered the honey. On top of that, I've always been more of a sweet over savory person, and peanut butter just wasn't fixing this girl's sweet tooth. 
Well that all changed a couple of years ago when one of my friends told me about melting peanut butter first. Seriously, if you haven't tried melted peanut butter, you're really missing out. Now I spread my favorite condiment on everything; oats, smoothies/smoothie bowls, sweet potatoes, fruit, crackers, and of course, I've brought back the PB&H's. 

At first, chocolate and peanut butter was obsession. The funny thing is I've never liked Reece's cups. I prefer my peanut butter all gooey and melted, not all hard and crumbly.
Don't get me wrong, I'm still ardent for the combination, but I've found a new combo that is absolutely ridiculous. Caramel & Peanut Butter. 
Plus it's perfect for autumn, or all year round in my opinion, with the warm, sweetness from the caramel swirled with the saltiness from the peanut butter...
I promise you, it's a addicting. Almost as addicting as my Nana's rolls. And trust me when I say that no matter how many of those fresh-out-of-the-oven, soft, buttery rolls you pop into your mouth, you can always do just one more because they are that dang good. 

Back to the granola. I had to play around with the recipe because of how wet it started out from all the peanut butter and "caramel", but I finally got it just right. 
Beware... it's sticky. But it's worth it.

Salted Caramel and Peanut Butter Granola

  • Old fashioned rolled oats
  • 10 pitted neglect dates (or 6 medjool dates)
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 1 tbs. flax seed
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup crushed peanuts
  • 1 tsp. + 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tbs. coconut sugar
  • 1 tbs. peanut butter powder
Pre-heat oven to 350º.
Roughly chop the dates. Bring to a boil with a 1/4 cup of water, and reduce to a simmer, adding more water as needed. Simmer for about 10 minutes and whisk the peanut butter, cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp. salt in. Add water if needed, the consistency should be of a thick caramel sauce (dates should still be chunky). Set aside.
In a bowl, mix the oats, flax meal, flax seed, and peanuts. Pour in the peanut butter and date sauce. Crumble around with your hands and spread evenly onto a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool completely.
Reduce heat to 250º.
Bring 1/4 cup water, and coconut sugar to a low boil. Add 1 tsp. salt, and peanut butter powder in. Let it grow to rapid boil for 20 seconds. Turn down to a simmer and whisk until thick and creamy (about 1 minute). Set aside.
Once cooled, bake again for 15-20 minutes (until crispy but not brown). Take out and immediately pour the caramel sauce over it. Toss together, and again, lay out on the baking sheet. Bake for another 5 minutes. Let cool completely and crisp up. Taste & sprinkle with sea salt if wanted more.

Now grab a big bowl, get ready for the colder months, & eat up! 

                                                                                                                              -Cecilia A.


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