Sarah Kieffer’s crisp, gently sweetened granola tastes like a chocolate peanut butter cup in breakfast form. Adapted from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book: Recipes for Irresistible Everyday Favorites and Reinvented Classics.
This has been a crappy year in too many ways to count, and (aside from today’s victory at Standing Rock), it just seems to be getting worse and worse. As difficult as it feels to sit down and write about a bowl of oats right now, I know that part of what will *actually* make America great again is supporting our fellow artists.
One of those artists is Sarah Kieffer, the blogger, photographer, and writer behind The Vanilla Bean Blog. I’ve been a fangirl of Sarah’s innovative sweet treats, muted photography, and down to earth prose for many years. Her salty bourbon squares have made many appearances in my kitchen (in GF form), and it was a great honor to see the beautiful version of my vanilla butter cake from Alternative Baker with a boozy twist on her blog earlier this year.
I was overjoyed when her book arrived in the mail. Page after page of Sarah’s signature sweets and soft images beckoned me to the kitchen. Pumpkin olive oil bread. Apple ginger skillet pie. Chocolate ganache cupcakes with basil buttercream. Cardamom cake with coffee buttercream.
But Sarah’s intro to this granola caught me. “I wake up every morning craving coffee… and chocolate.” Change “coffee” to “black tea with milk and honey,” and that’s me – I would gladly eat chocolate for breakfast any day. And that is precisely what we’ve been doing.
This granola is gently sweetened, flavored with just enough peanut butter to leave its mark, and laced with cacao nibs, toasted almonds, and chopped or grated bittersweet chocolate. It’s light and crispy, and works as well for breakfast with milk or yogurt as it does for dessert over ice cream or pot de crème.
If you’re looking for a sweet (and highly glutenous) escape, pick up a copy of Sarah’s beautiful book.
Speaking of books and sweets, I’ll be at Napa’s Bookmine at the Oxbow Market this Saturday December 10th from 12-2. If you’re in the area, I’d love to see you there!
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons creamy natural peanut butter
- ¼ cup (60 ml) sunflower oil (or other neutral oil)
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2½ cups (225 g) old-fashioned rolled oats (GF if needed)
- 3 tablespoons (35 g) packed brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup (70 g) chopped raw almonds
- 3 tablespoons (20 g) cacao nibs
- 2 ounces (55 g) chopped bittersweet chocolate
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, peanut butter, sunflower oil, water, and vanilla. Stir in the oats, brown sugar, salt, almonds, and cacao nibs, stirring well to coat. Spread the oat mixture evenly over the baking sheet.
- Bake the granola until the oats are golden and dry, 20-30 minutes, stirring it gently if the edges are browning too quickly (less stirring means clumpier granola so you might not need to stir). You can test the granola by placing a small spoonful on the counter; if it crisps when it cools, it's ready.
- Let the granola cool completely, then stir in the chopped chocolate. Store airtight at room temperature for up to 1 month. Enjoy with milk or yogurt, or over ice cream for dessert.