I recently catered a back-to-school breakfast for 50-ish people, and one of the items that I made was granola and yogurt parfaits For the event I made the two other types of granola I have made thus far, pumpkin spice and peanut butter banana. I was so glad that I did because it reminded me of how quick and easy granola is to make, and what a fantastic snack it can be. So, not long afterward, I opened my pantry and saw a bunch of ingredients begging to be used up – dried pineapple, dried banana chips, coconut and oats. Granola seemed like the perfect solution.
For the mixture of wet ingredients that helps bind granola together and give it flavor, I added pineapple puree and mashed banana as well as coconut extract. I also tossed in some chopped macadamia nuts and toasted coconut for mix-ins. WOW! This stuff is gooood. I wasn’t sure what to expect since it was a complete experiment, but I thought the tropical flavors came through well and though it is primarily sweet, the macadamia nuts provided a nice counterbalance with some saltiness. I took a big bag of it into work and it was perfect for snacking on throughout the week. I have a feeling I’ll be making this frequently.
Yield: 6-8 cups
3½ cups rolled oats
2½ cups puffed rice cereal
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup fresh pineapple puree
1/3 cup mashed banana
1/3 cup applesauce
½ tsp. salt
Dash of cinnamon
1 tsp. coconut extract
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted
1 cup dried pineapple, chopped
1 cup dried banana chips, chopped
½ cup toasted macadamia nuts, chopped
Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats and puffed rice cereal. Stir to combine. In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, pineapple puree, mashed banana, applesauce, salt, cinnamon and coconut extract. Whisk until very smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the oat mixture and stir gently with a spatula until the oat mixture is evenly coated. Spread on the prepared baking sheet in an even layer.
Bake for 30 minutes. Using a large, wide spatula, turn sections of the granola over on the baking sheet. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, until nearly completely dried. If your granola layer is thick, you may need to bake it a bit longer, removing the edges that have cooked completely but making sure the center is done. Cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then crumble into a large airtight storage container. Add toasted coconut, dried pineapple, banana chips, and macadamia nuts to the container. Seal and shake well until everything is evenly combined.