Back in May, my friend Sally mentioned that Trader Joe’s sold dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Already infatuated with Reese’s milk chocolate version, I immediately scribbled down her suggestion on my grocery list, fully intending to grab a package on my next trip.
However… The temperatures during our summer months shoot up past 100° where I live and basically refuse to cool off, even during the late evenings and early mornings, so when I stopped by TJ’s with the plan to drive past Walmart and the bank afterward, I nearly slapped my palm against my forehead.
Those dark chocolate peanut butter cups would melt in two seconds flat in my car!
(Yes, I seriously debated sticking the package into my purse while running the rest of my errands. Please tell me I’m not the only one…)
I played it safe that day and held off until my next grocery trip, but the same thing happened again and again… I planned on dropping by TJ’s as my first stop in a long chain of errands for an entire month. I never learn!
Eventually, around the end of June, I finally dashed over for an emergency banana run late one evening, just before the store closed. Because I planned to head directly home after checking out, I nearly skipped down the freezer aisle in excitement until I found the package—perfect timing!
I barely made it home before ripping open the plastic. Those little beauties were “true” peanut butter cups where their centers were pure nut butter, not processed like Reese’s. Coupled with the smooth dark chocolate coating, they tempted me to sneak one after breakfast, before walking our dog, after dinner, and just before crawling under the covers as a bedtime dessert.
The entire package barely lasted me two weeks!
I spotted the dark chocolate peanut butter cups again this past week, but this time, the sneaky employees planted them right next to the registers, precariously stacked and just waiting to “fall” into my basket! I somehow managed to escape without any nose-diving into my bags, but as a compromise, I decided to bake my own slightly healthier treat at home.
Later than night, I pulled a pan of this Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola out of the oven and barely waited five minutes before diving in! With its light cocoa and sweet nutty flavor, every cluster actually tasted like a peanut butter cup. But unlike those candies, this granola is low fat, low calorie, and vegan too!
You only need 4 ingredients to make this skinny granola, most of which you already stash in your pantry! Peanut butter, water, oats, and Cocoa Pebbles. Yes, I’m addicted to Cocoa Pebbles too… I grew up with their cousin, Fruity Pebbles (my grandpa even mixed them into his famous coffee cake!), so munching on a bowl always brings back fun memories.
Because the Cocoa Pebbles are already coated in cocoa powder, we don’t need any additional chocolate. This also helps keep the chocolate and peanut butter flavors separate by preventing them from becoming muddled when you mix them together.
So to make the peanut butter oats, whisk together melted peanut butter and hot water first. They combine better when they’re warm and turn into a smooth mixture, instead of tiny clumps of peanut butter floating in water. Now mix in just the oats (gluten-free if necessary!) until thoroughly coated to make sure the peanut butter mainly flavors them. Finally add in the Cocoa Pebbles and stir until they stick to the oats.
To bake, spread the granola into the pan and pop it in the oven. It needs a total of 40-45 minutes, but remember to stir every 15 minutes! This prevents the cereal closest to the edges from burning and also helps the granola crisp evenly. When the clusters just begin to turn crunchy, pull the pan from the oven. The granola continues to crisp as it cools—if you can keep your hand out of the pan for that long!
Within minutes of it finishing, I had already devoured an entire serving of this Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola, and it disappeared even faster than the TJ’s peanut butter cups! It tasted awesome soaked in milk as a morning bowl of cereal, mixed into yogurt as a parfait, or munched on plain by the handful as a sweet snack.
How long will this granola last in your house?
This healthy granola actually tastes like a chocolate peanut butter cup! It’s sweet, crunchy and packed with healthy fats & fiber to keep you full all morning long.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, and lightly coat a 9”-square pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Add the melted peanut butter and hot water to a large bowl, and whisk to combine. Stir in the oats until thoroughly coated. Gently stir in the Cocoa Pebbles.
- Spread the mixture into the prepared pan, and bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes, or until lightly crunchy, gently stirring every 15 minutes to ensure the granola toasts evenly and prevent it from burning. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before breaking up any large chunks. Once completely cool, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Note: It’s important to stir in only the oats first to ensure that they have a strong peanut butter flavor. Otherwise, the flavor gets muddled by the chocolate in the Cocoa Pebbles.
This looks delicious! A group of my friends and I are traveling to a mud run this weekend and I’ve been trying to think of a quick, nutritious, delicious snack that we could have in the car. This looks perfect and quick to make! And even better, I already have all of these ingredients at home, YUM! Thanks for another awesome recipe!!
Thanks Kelly; I really hope you enjoy the granola! And good luck on your mud run!! That sounds like so much fun. I’ve had friends participate in them, and they always come back glowing with so many awesome stories. I hope you have a blast too! 🙂
I see the TJ’s PB cups in my head now, they are tooooo good. Have you tried the chocolate salted almonds? They are hands down the best chocolate treat they sell…in my opinion. This granola would be so good on a mango banana smoothie.
Ohh my gosh Brittany, chocolate salted almonds?? I’m doomed on my next TJ’s trip… Thank goodness I just went yesterday, or else I’d already have my hand in the bag! 😉
Anything that tastes like eating a peanut butter cup for breakfast is A-ok with me!! 🙂 I’m loving everything about this granola, girl!
Thanks Jocelyn!! You have that fabulous PB coffee cake too that’s been calling my name… 😉
Ceara @ Ceara's Kitchen says...
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups sound divine! I love the simplicity of this granola – it looks delicious (can you ever really go wrong with a choc. & pb combo?) 😀 And great minds must this alike – I just posted a granola recipe too!
Thanks Ceara! So true about chocolate & PB together. And that’s too funny about your granola recipe! 🙂
You had me at peanut butter and chocolate….two of my most favorite things on the earth!
This was fantastic ! I would of never thought of using Cocoa Pebbles.
I did use Peanut Butter & Co Dark Chocolate Dreams all natural peanut butter…since I ALWAYS have that in supply…. a sure sign of true addiction : )
This will be a staple at our house for sure too !
Oh Kimberly, I’m really happy you enjoyed this recipe too! I need to try that dark chocolate peanut butter… It sounds absolutely phenomenal, especially to a fellow chocoholic and peanut butter-aholic! 😉
Kate @Framed Cooks says...
Oh my goodness. Four ingredients, good and good for you? My granola-loving husband is about to be a happy guy…and I might have to join him. I can only imagine how good this would be sprinkled over some vanilla yogurt. 🙂
I really hope you and your husband love the granola Kate! 🙂 I can definitely vouch for the vanilla yogurt. That’s how most of mine disappeared so quickly!
Dear Amy, this sounds like a perfect breakfast…this and some almond milk – perfect start to the day. xo, Catherine
Thank you Catherine! I think you’re absolutely right. 🙂
Trying it with Cocoa Puffs because that’s all I have! Thanks for the idea. My kids will love this
I can’t wait to hear what you and your kids think of this granola Kendra! 🙂