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Flour Girl: Granola, round two

Peanut Butter Granola. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

As promised, I researched and developed the granola I had on my vacation to Big Sur, Calif., at Treebones Resort.

Recipe Included

Re-creating recipes from memory is always a bit of a gamble. As time elapses, the mind has a tendency to glorify the remembered food until it is unattainable. There always seems to be a little something to alter that would bring it closer to the Real Deal.

In the case of vacation food or childhood favorites, the actual tastes are inevitably interwoven with the emotions of the moment. So, in the case of my reconstructing the peanut butter granola, the "missing" flavor I was seeking turned out not to be edible at all. What was impossible to factor in was the smell of the sea air and the sound of the elephant seals barking in the distance.

In some ways, I like that food memories remain elusive. They are sacred and always more delicious in the remembered than in the present.

What I liked best about the Treebones Resort granola was its chunkiness. It was served with additional rolled oats, but seeing as how I kept picking out the delicious baked peanut butter pieces, I left out that final step of adding oats.

So this is my East Coast interpretation of a West Coast creation. Everyone at work who tasted it came back for more. It's ultra-simple. If I make enough of it in the next few weeks, maybe my memory of the original will slowly fade, and my granola will satisfy my Big Sur craving.

-- Leigh Lambert

Peanut Butter Granola
Makes about 6 cups (12 servings)

MAKE AHEAD: The granola may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks, or it can be refrigerated for up to 1 month.

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups rolled oats (do not use quick-cooking)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Have an ungreased rimmed baking sheet at hand.

Combine the butter, peanut butter and honey in a microwave-safe medium bowl. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute, then stir. The mixture should be smooth and thick; if needed, microwave on HIGH for another minute.

Add the brown sugar, vanilla extract and salt, stirring until smooth, then add the oats and mix until they are evenly coated. Spread the mixture evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or just until browned and crisp.

Let cool on the baking sheet, then break it up into bite-size pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Per 1/2-cup serving: 253 calories, 7 g protein, 38 g carbohydrates, 10 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 6 mg cholesterol, 98 mg sodium, 5 g dietary fiber, 10 g sugar

By Leigh Lambert  |  January 14, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Flour Girl , Recipes  | Tags: Flour Girl, Leigh Lambert, baking, breakfast, granola, recipes  
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