peanut butter granola with cacao nibs and bittersweet chocolate | the vanilla bean blog
It snows in here.
It snows forever, but there’s no Christmas underneath this weather.
When it blows here and gets real cold,
I wanna trip myself and fall upon your fabulous sword
and move
here by the stained-glass window.
Forget about the inside ghetto.
Down here on the hardwood floor,
the lines on the ceiling start to swim once more
like a cheap Renoir,
a fake Van Gogh,
a pop Monet,
a blue Degas.
I breathe you.
I need you.
-Over The Rhine, Jack’s Valentine

I’ve had those lyrics running through my head since January; always winter, never Christmas* has sort of become my theme song this year. I apologize if I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but when your days consist of shivering, coughing, and cleaning up after sick peeps, you start to view the world through crazy eyes. And wake up every morning craving coffee. And chocolate cake. Although, I’ve discovered, eating cake for breakfast doesn’t really make my day any better, in fact, all that butter and sugar first thing can make it rather worse. So that’s when I came up with this breakfast bowl: peanut butter granola with cacao nibs and chocolate. Just a tiny bit of bittersweet grated over the top makes for a delicious bite, and is just enough chocolate to soothe my frazzled nerves.
peanut butter granola with cacao nibs and bittersweet chocolate | the vanilla bean blog
peanut butter granola with cacao nibs and bittersweet granola | the vanilla bean blog
peanut butter granola with cacao nibs and bittersweet chocolate | the vanilla bean blog
‘[B]efore them were the sands, with rocks and little pools of salt water, and seaweed, and the smell of the sea and long miles of bluish-green waves breaking for ever and ever on the beach. And oh, the cry of the seagulls! Have you ever heard it? Can you remember?’*
*Both from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, by CS Lewis.

peanut butter granola with cacao nibs and bittersweet chocolate | the vanilla bean blog
Peanut Butter Granola
This recipe is based on my favorite Maple Pecan Granola. You can use either canola or olive oil here; I used a combination. I like to add the nuts and cacao nibs to the granola after it has been baked – I find the nuts get too dark when they are added in with the granola; when toasted separately you can keep a better eye on them. Toasted quinoa would also taste delicious mixed in here.

4 1/2 cups oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup canola oil or olive oil
2 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
1/3 cup cacao nibs
bittersweet chocolate, grated, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, peanut butter, oil, water, and vanilla until smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the oat mixture and mix well – make sure the oats are fully coated. Spread the oats in an even layer on the half sheet pan, and bake until oats are golden brown and no longer wet, stirring often, 20-30 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, stirring the cooling oats on pan once. Add the toasted almonds and cacao nibs to the cool granola. Serve with yogurt or milk, and grate chocolate to taste over the top.

51 Responses to peanut butter granola with cacao nibs and bittersweet chocolate

  1. Kezia says:

    I’m sorry that you’ve been dealing with sickness:( Peanut butter granola sounds amazing! Especially with chocolate.

  2. This granola sounds killer Sarah!!! I understand your need for frazzled nerve soothing chocolate, I really do xx Much love

  3. tara says:

    Hugs to you on these not-so-easy days, dear friend. My cravings have gone the a very similar route, and you’ve come up with the perfect antidote. Thank you! Absolutely perfect project for this (so darn) cold morning. xox

    • Sarah says:

      Thank you so much Tara. Somehow sweets always show up when I’m finding life to be a bit rough. If only fruits and vegetables made me feel the same way. xo

  4. This winter has been so particularly harsh. But I’m hopeful that March will bring a few more sunnier, warmer days — and healthier ones, too, for you and your family. This granola sounds like perfection, by the way: Anything to get a little sweetness added to my mornings. 🙂

  5. molly yeh says:

    these photos are so gorgeous and everything about this granola sounds so tasty. i’ve been putting peanut butter and cacao nibs in my oatmeal, so this would be an awesome step up! stay warm in the cities, you!

  6. Natasha says:

    This just might be the prettiest granola ever. And you can’t go wrong with PB & chocolate. Keep warm/calm/healthy!

  7. Winter is not going away any time soon here either. This granola is just what I need!

  8. I am jealous of this snow. I had it only for 5 minutes this year and it was very cold for much longer. Granola looks amazing.

  9. You always have the best food pictures. Thanks for the recipe! ~ Country Girl’s Daybook, recently: ~plans~

  10. MB says:

    Three of my favorite things on the planet… chocolate, peanut butter and granola. Oh my. I’m going to the market soon to stock up in preparation for snow day number 9 (and 10?!)… this granola will definitely help my spirits! thank you! I just discovered your blog, and absolutely adore it… looking forward to following you 🙂

  11. Kasey says:

    Always winter, never Christmas. I so, so can feel this sentiment. Even though we hardly have snow here, I’ve gone through some challenging transitions over the last year, and sometime I want to yell, when the F will Christmas finally be here?! This granola is IT. xo

  12. I can get on board with a breakfast like this! And I feel your pain about winter. It dropped to below -30C here last night. That is just too cold to do anything. It’s even too cold for it to snow.

  13. Laura says:

    Love, love, love the Narnia books. Hang in there, the spring will come! The granola sounds fantastic–I might have to try a GF version for myself!

  14. Kathryn says:

    Ugh, I know that feeling. Here’s to spring and sunshine and life starting afresh. I find the day is just that bit easier with something wholesome + tasty to start off with and this granola is just that.

  15. Oh my, what a fantastic idea to put peanut butter in granola! I eat granola every single day (sometimes twice, or thrice even…) so this really made my day. Need to try asap!

  16. No need to apologize. This is exactly how I feel (and I’m assuming most people who have been struck by this frigid weather feel the same). We just have to stay strong and remember that one day very soon we will be enjoying warmer weather.

  17. Sasha says:

    This granola looks fabulous. I’ve been on a bit of a Trader Joe’s granola kick lately but I think it’s time to start making my own. How would you recommend toasting the quinoa if I were to choose that route? Thanks 🙂

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Sasha – I usually put the quinoa in a small skillet and toast it dry until it starts to turn golden brown, and some of the seeds start popping. You could also do the same thing on a sheet pan in the oven. If you google ‘toasted quinoa’, there are other options, too – toasting it with a little maple syrup or oil.

  18. Oooh, this sounds fab. I haven’t made my own granola for years, so you’ve inspired me to get back in the game. I think I’ll go for the toasted quinoa as well. Mmm..

  19. This sounds spectacular! Love the combination of flavors. Adding it to my Must-Try list!

  20. cheri says:

    Hope you feel better, your granola sounds perfect, love this combination.

  21. layla says:

    always winter, but never Christmas… I was just saying that to a friend last week…
    pb, chocolate, granola, — Y U M
    the weather is a great reminder that we are N O T in control

  22. There are few things more wonderful in the morning than homemade granola. Your recipe sounds lovely, although, I’m usually not a big fan of peanut butter (call me weird). I hope spring and with it the sun find their way to you soon – we’re having the most beautiful spring weather here in Finland today…Okay, its barely 40’C outside but the sun is shining bright and happy – it gives you so much energy especially after this gray and dark winter we’ve had.

    Sending you hugs,

  23. I adore this, and actually, you’ve just inspired me to start a granola Pinterest board—you’ll be the first pin!

  24. Chiara says:

    Hey Sarah!!

    This is Chiara, Italian lifestyle blogger from
    I really enjoy reading your blog, and I find the passion you put into what you are doing amazing!

    I’m reaching out to you because I want to create an international network of bloggers, and invite them to write on my blog from time to time as guests.
    If you are up to it, you could be the first one!

    I’m based in Beijing, I’m not sure where you are at the moment; it would be great to meet in person, but it’s ok to do everything via email too…

    Please let me know if you are interested in knowing more about this blog-exchange and don’t hesitate to contact me for a chat!

    Looking forward to your reply!


    Lifestyle Blogger

    Mobile +86 182 1058 3942

    Find me on Instagram: chiaramariasassu
    Find me on Weibo: chiarascoffeetable
    Find me on Wechat: chiarakeya
    Find me on Facebook: chiarascoffeetable

  25. Kait says:

    So trying this tomorrow am!!

  26. Jacqueline Yaraghi says:

    Hi Sarah!

    This sounds so delicious and I really want to try it. I have a question about how well the granola will stay fresh and the best way to keep it fresh for a long time. My boyfriend just deployed to Afghanistan today and I want to start trying out recipes that I can send him that will stay fresh for a week in travel. Do you have any suggestions as to what will keep this fresh? Also any other recipes that you think would mail well. I hate the thought of him eating super processed food out there


    • Sarah says:

      Hi Jacqueline – The granola should be fine traveling for a week! I keep mine in a glass air tight container or a plastic bag, and it lasts just fine for 2-3 weeks. It will keep best in an airtight container, so you could pack it in a plastic ziplock bag, and then have him transfer it to something else (but it should keep in the bag if he doesn’t have access to an airtight container). He could also keep the granola in a fridge if he doesn’t eat it all within the week, but I’ve never had a problem with mine being at room temperature (we do eat it rather quickly, though!) I hope that helps. And how thoughtful of you! I’m sure he’ll enjoy getting your treats in the mail.

  27. Jacqueline Yaraghi says:

    Thank you so much! It’s actually such a relief to know that I can send something tastey and good for him! I’ll let you know how it works out!

  28. […] peanut butter granola with cacao nibs and bittersweet chocolate, recipe here, would be great to make ahead and take for an early […]

  29. Margaret says:

    Hi there, beautiful blog ??
    Are the cacao nibs sweetened? I purchased some unsweetened & they’re a bit intense for our liking. Maybe roasting them in this granola will help….? I’m hopeful. Thank You.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Margaret – the cacao nibs are not sweetened; although you can buy them that way (I’ve seen them online). I like them unsweetened – mixed into baked goods, they help balance sweetness. If you are worried about putting them in the granola, you can bake it without them, and then just sprinkle a few on top and see how you like it. If you add them to really sweet treats (like ice cream, cookies, etc), the sugar will help tame the bitterness of the cacao nib. I hope that helps!

  30. […] Žem?s riešut? granola. Žem?s riešut?, šokolado ir kakavos derinys man kiek per solidus. Iš granolos noriu daugiau v?javaikiškumo (džiovintos spanguol?s, kokosas, aguonos ir džiovinti imbierai). […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *