{sms} cherry almond granola

Good stuff. I make granola all the time. In fact, I’ve made Sweet Melissa’s Cherry Almond Granola once before. It was used in the 4th recipe baked for Sweet Melissa’s SundaysGranola Breakfast Cookies–way back in April 2009. It’s kinda weird because you can see I’m wearing my wedding rings. Weird. It was a previous life.

Another difference between then and now is that this week I’m hosting the recipe. Oh, and this time I didn’t drop my granola container and waste most of the batch. šŸ˜‰

Granola is great because you do anything with it. You can use it in cookies and bread. You can eat as cereal. You can eat it with yogurt and fruit. And, of course, it’s great on double-bean vanilla ice cream.

Cherry Almond Granola

From The Sweet Melissa Baking Book

Makes 4 quarts granola

    • 5 cups rolled oats
    • 3 cups rye flakes (see note)
    • 1 cup unsalted shelled sunflower seeds
    • 1 cup roasted shelled pumpkin seeds
    • 1 cup whole natural almonds
    • 1/2 cup dry milk powder
    • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
    • 3/4 cup clover honey
    • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1 cup dried currants
    • 1 cup dried cherries
    • 1 cup golden raisins

    Before You Start

    Position a rack in the bottom and top thirds of your oven. Preheat the oven to 250Ā° F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

    1. In a very large bowl, combine the oats, rye flakes, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, almonds, and dry milk powder.
    2. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk together the oil, honey, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and ginger and bring to a simmer, 3 to 4 minutes.
    3. Pour hot mixture over the oat mixture, and mix well to combine.
    4. Divide the granola equally between the prepared cookie sheets, spreading it evenly into a single layer. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes, until golden. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely.
    5. Break up the granola into a bowl. Add the currants, cherries, and raisins and mix thoroughly.

    The granola keeps in an airtight container at room temperature and in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

    Note: Rye flakes are similar to rolled oats and can be used in much the same way. You can find them at natural foods stores.

    {twd} soft chocolate and cherry tart

    I don’t want to speak too soon, but I’m back in the groove of baking. It’s a good thing. I like baking. šŸ˜› This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe selection was Soft Chocolate and Raspberry Tart. Trader Joes didn’t have fresh raspberries and Dorie Greenspan conveniently suggested using jarred cherries as a replacement in the “Playing Around” section. Trader Joes had jarred cherries.

    I made 1/4 of the recipe and made a mini-tart. I did make the full-recipe of the Sweet Tart Crust with Nuts and the other three mini-tart pans are in my freezer waiting to be used sometime in the future. My freezer is getting quite full with baked goods and things that need to be baked. I may need to invite a bunch of people overĀ  and have a eat-my-freezer party.

    Anyway, the tart was delicious. I’m a big fan of chocolate and cherries. The tart crust was great too.

    Thanks to Rachelle of Mommy? Iā€™m Hungry! for hosting this week. If you would like the recipe, visit her blog or buy the book.

    {twd} cherry-fudge brownie torte


    If you want a show-stopping dessert this is it. If you want a quick and easy treat this is NOT it. Luckily I had a party this week so I was in need of a fabulous dessert. With lots of dishes and ingredients, this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie selection, the Cherry-Fudge Brownie Torte, certainly fit the bill.

    It’s a souped-up brownie with a hint of spice from coarsely-ground black pepper and liquored-up dried tart cherries. I love liquored-up dried fruit recipes because you get to set them on fire. Fun times.


    The torte is topped with a vanilla-flavored creamy mascarpone mousse. I decorated the top with sprinkled cocoa powder and chopped and whole chocolate-covered cherries.

    The torte was so successful that it disappeared before I could try it. My guests loved it and really dug the surprise of the black pepper.


    The pizza party was also a success. All the guests had a fabulous time and can’t wait for my next party in January. Unfortunately, I didn’t take good pictures during the party. I was so busy rolling out dough and watching the oven. It was interesting to see the different ways people topped their pizza. Some were very methodical and took a along time creating their pizza, others were very haphazard.

    The Dessert Spread, before party

    The Dessert Spread, before party

    I made 6 different types of pizza dough (which I divided into 5 oz individual pizza size ) and 4 different sauces. I provided some toppings and guests were told to bring their favorite toppings. We baked most on my pizza stone, but we also made a few pan-style.


    The Dessert Spread, after party

    Thank you to April of Short + Rose for hosting this week’s selection. In addition to being a fabulous baker, she is also an avid gardener and crafter. I love reading about everything that comes out of her garden. If you would like the recipe for the torte visit her blog or buy the book.

    Cherry Almond Granola


    I’ve been making my own granola for quite awhile now and don’t buy premade cereal. I’m always trying new recipes. My favorite breakfast is a yogurt parfait with fruit and granola. The rep from Stonyfield Yogurt sent me coupons to try Oikos Greek Yogurt, which I did for this parfait. I prefer full-fat yogurt and Oikos is non-fat so it was not as thick as I prefer and the taste seemed off, but is typical of nonfat milk items. It comes in plain which is wonderful because I only buy plain yogurt.

    This week’s Sweet Melissa Sundays recipe is the Breakfast Granola Cookies which I will blog about on Sunday. It came at a perfect time because I just ran out of my previous granola.


    This is a tasty recipe which includes not only rolled oats, but rye flakes (except I couldn’t find rye flakes and used Bob’s Red Mill 5-grain mix which included rye flakes and flax seeds). There are also sunflower seeds, pepitas, currants,Ā  in addition to the dried cherries and almonds. The recipe also calls for milk powder and honey. To make the recipe vegan so I can eat it on my vegan days, I used soy milk powder and agave syrup instead.

    This recipe makes a lot of granola, more than my granola container holds–so I packed some up and gave some to friends. But then disaster struck–I dropped my granola container (which broke) and spilled most of the granola all overĀ  my kitchen floor. Luckily, approximately 2 cups stayed safe in the container. So now I need to make more granola…what recipe should I try next?


    Cherry and Chocolate Chip Cookies


    Here’s another treat I wasn’t going to blog about, but were too good to share.
    I’ve been going through stacks and stacks of recipes from food magazinesĀ  I’ve collected over the past year or so. Pretty much just creating more stacks for some sort of order. I found this recipe from theĀ  July 2008 issue of Bon Appetit. It comes from the R.S.V.P./Readers’ Favorite Restaurant Recipes section and is not online.

    The recipe comes from Icing on the Cake Bakery of Los Gatos, California and is a souped up version of a chocolate chip cookie with alcohol-soaked dried cherries and both semisweet and white chocolate chips. The cherries take this cookie over the edge. YUM.

    Cherry and Chocolate Chip Cookies

    From Bon Appetit July 2008 and Icing on the Cake
    • 1 cup dried tart cherries (about 5 1/2 ounces)
    • 1/3 cup cherry liquor (I used kirsch)
    • 2 tablespoons water
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup of sugarĀ  (thanks to Amanda of Amanda’s Cookin for pointing out my omission. )
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
    • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (about 6 1/2 ounces)
    • 1 cup white chocolate chips (about 6 1/2 ounces)

    Preheat oven to 375Ā° F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

    Bring cherries, cherry liquor, and 2 tablespoons water to boil in small sauce pan. Remove from heat and let cherries soak for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry; set aside.

    Whisk flour, salt, and baking soda inĀ  a medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in a large bowl until creamy. Add eggs and extracts, beat to blend. Add flour mixture and beat on low just to blend. Stir in cherries and all chocolate chips.

    Scoop tablespoonfuls of dough onto prepared baking sheets spacing 1 inch apart. Bake cookies one sheet at a timeĀ  until edges are light golden brown 11-13 minutes, turning baking sheets halfway through cooking time. Transfer to rack and cool.

    Makes about 30 cookies.

    Thank you to everyone that wished me luck and gave me support yesterday while running my half-marathon. I finished with a good time (for me) 2 hours, 18 minutes. I’m sore as all-heck today, but doing well.