Peanut Butter Granola Clusters!

I got back into the kitchen and baked! I’m super proud of myself…not that proud since it took me two weeks but I had work to blame.  I worked for 12 days straight and today due to an extra early morning drive to the airport, I ended up having to get half a day off from work because I was just drained.  It was all dizzy and fuzzy and concentration was shot.  Anyways, that aside, I napped, ate, rested and even watched the 2nd NHL playoff game for Montreal Canadiens and then decided to bake! I gave my boyfriend the choice of these granola clusters or cinnamon rolls. Guess which one won 😉

P1210841This recipe is from my Looneyspoons book by Janet and Greta Podelski.  This is called GOODY TWO CHEWS!

Makes 12 clusters

Ingredients

1/3 cup light peanut butter

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

2 egg whites

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

2 1/2 cup low-fat granola

3/4 cup chopped dried cranberries

How to make them:

1. Preheat oven to 250F.  Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, beat together peanut butter and maple syrup on medium speed of electric mixer.  Add egg whites and pumpkin pie spice and beat again until smooth.

3. Stir in granola and cranberries.  Divide mixture evenly among muffin cups.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven to cool completely on wire rack before removing clusters from pan.  Store in an airtight container

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Fresh out of the oven! They look absolutely wonderful and filled the house with peanut butter smell.

Just for a few modifications:

– I misread the peanut butter quantity and put more around 1/2 cup…

– I have no idea where to buy pumpkin pie spice but the books gives you a little tip as to combining 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger and 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg.  It was from earlier in the book, so now I’m wondering if the quantities were in proportion…

– I only used granola because I had bought one with fruits in it and the book recommends one with pumpkin flax. I obviously didn’t read it beforehand.  In turn, I eliminated the dried cranberries since the granola mix already had it.  This was the one I bought:

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After it cooled down and I had pried it out of the muffin tins, I gave it a whirl to see what it taste like.  Suffice to say, I’ve never eaten any clusters before.  This seemed like a healthier choice too. It works well with the whole staying fit 😉 This tasted AMAZING! I had this really interesting texture.  On the top is was crunchy a bit and near the bottom, it felt like the bottom of a muffin type of chewy.  Not dry just a bit fluffy and chewy.  I don’t really know how to describe it but it was so great 🙂

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The fruits gave a little sweet taste and then it mixed well with the peanut butter and maple syrup mix 🙂

If you like to make clusters or enjoy granola, you should give this shot! Its quite delicious and super easy to make.  The baking time is a bit longer than my usual but its well worth the wait 🙂 If anything, the aroma that circulates around the house while its in the oven just starts making your mouth water..I know it did that for me!  Its perfect as snacks and I’m sure if you have little ones, they’ll probably enjoy it a lot too 🙂

Dried Cranberry Shortbread Hearts

I promised that I would get you some Valentine’s baking yesterday but something came up and I didn’t quite manage to get that up.  You know, life happens.  I guarantee it was nothing bad though.  Just some changes might or might not happen in life and if it does settle down, I’ll share it with everyone.  For now, let’s turn our focus to my first Valentine’s baking.  I know I know, Shortbread…again, right? To be honest, shortbread is starting to grow on me. And I can actually eat this and its easy to make.

Doesn’t this look cute and delicious?

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Right here is the recipe if you’d like to try it out.  Found this on the Martha Stewart site.

http://www.marthastewart.com/338922/dried-cranberry-shortbread-hearts?center=276967&gallery=874690&slide=338922

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This is a super easy one. Unless you can cut beautiful hearts out of a sheet, I’d recommend a cookie cutter.  That’s the reason why its taken me so long. I was going to make them into cupcakes.  You know its sweet to give someone you loved a cookie shaped in a cupcake, its like calling them that, right?

Other than being easy to make, this one had a wonderful texture.  Its probably one of the best shortbread recipes I’ve had.

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Just look at it. Its not too dry and crumbly but was balanced with a bit of nice slightly moist balance.  The dried cranberries really give it a nice little touch.

I managed to get 5 hearts out of this with a whole bunch of tidbits on the sides.  So far I haven’t found the heart to eat the beautiful shortbread hearts.

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 How could you right? They just look so nice!

10 days from Valentine’s day now! Any ideas what else I should bake?

I probably will be back with something else on Friday. The office is still a bit hectic and have a few sudden things resulting from what happened to take care of.  Lets hope I can still manage to keep up with my posts 🙂

Happy Monday everyone!