Salty-sweet granola with cranberries, chocolate, crunchy almonds, and a festive red, white and blue theme.
Grab some flags and look out for fireworks because several national days are heading our way.
July 1 is Canada Day, July 14 is Bastille Day and July 4 is, well, the Fourth of July (aka Independence Day). Today’s recipe is all about America, but you could easily adapt this maple-peanut-butter-pretzel granola to celebrate the USA’s northern neighbor.
It’s impossible to sum up America in one granola. Nevertheless, I’ve tried to fill this red, white and blue granola with a few things that to me, at least, seem to say ‘America!’
First of all, there’s peanut butter. And which country out there that (quite rightly) loves peanut butter to an extent that far surpasses all other nations’ collective love for the nutty stuff? The US-of-A.
Apparently, the ‘average’ American will eat nearly 3,000 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in their lifetime. And who knows how many delicious peanut butter cups are eaten every year? (Seriously, does anyone know?).
We’re not using any old peanut butter for this granola – oh no, this calls for maple peanut butter. Maple peanut butter (a) provides extra flavor; and (b) reminds me of north-eastern USA. Sure, maple syrup is usually associated with Canada, but the New England states of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine are also major syrup producers.
(Please note that I have previously received products from Peanut Butter & Co.)
Maple syrup and maple extract add sweetness – and up the maple factor of this breakfast. That being said, if you don’t have any maple extract, just leave it out. And if there’s no maple peanut butter sitting in your pantry, then regular PB will be perfectly fine.
For crunchiness (and general excitement), there are pretzels! I say ‘roughly chopped’ pretzels in the recipe, but as you can see, I left a bunch of them whole. If you’re a fan of salty-sweet combinations, then I suspect you’ll enjoy this addition.
Whole almonds add some extra crunch – plus protein and vitamin E – to this breakfast. Also, the USA is the largest producer of almonds in the world (by quite a large margin).
Finally, we get to the really fun part: the mix-ins. For a red, white and blue theme I went with dried cranberries, white chocolate chips and red and blue M&M’s. The US also happens to be the largest producer of cranberries, followed by Canada. And we all know that Americans love candy.*
*Yes, that’s a total generalization… but probably a true one.
If you’d like to turn this into a Canada Day breakfast, it’s simple: remove the blue M&M’s. Either replace them with red M&M’s or leave them out entirely. The maple flavours add a bit of a ‘Canada’ factor, and, if you have them, you could always throw in some maple baking chips (yep, those exist!). Or just eat the granola while wearing a hockey jersey and being really nice to everyone.*
*Again, total generalizations, but, you know…
Last of all, while I may have spent most of this post rambling about North America, let’s not forget that red, white and blue are the national colors of many countries, not just the USA. Red, white and blue are the colors of the flags of the United Kingdom, France, Russia, Australia, New Zealand (unless they change it), Serbia, the Netherlands, Norway, Thailand, Cuba, Paraguay… and probably a couple of others.
By the way, Australia has a federal election this Saturday. If the current opposition leader wins, Australia will have it’s sixth prime minister in six years.
Sometimes you just have to sit back, look at this crazy world, and laugh. While eating granola, of course.
- ¼ cup (70g) maple peanut butter
- ¼ cup (60mL) maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon maple extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups (190g) rolled oats
- ½ cup (30g) roughly chopped pretzels
- ¼ cup (40g) whole almonds
- ¼ cup (35g) sweetened dried cranberries
- ¼ cup (50g) white chocolate chips
- ¼ cup (50g) red and blue M&M’s candies
- Preheat the oven to 340°F (170°C). Line a large baking sheet with non-stick paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the maple peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract, maple extract, cinnamon and salt.
- Add the rolled oats, chopped pretzels and whole almonds. Mix until well combined.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, or until the granola is golden brown. Avoid mixing or stirring the granola.
- Allow the granola to cool completely. Once cooled, break it into chunks and stir in the dried cranberries, white chocolate chips and M&M’s candies. Store the granola in an airtight container.
Regular peanut butter can be used instead of maple peanut butter. But avoid powdered peanut butter at all costs.