Cherry-Almond Granola

This weekend was so beautiful that it made me remember why I live in Portland.  Sure, we were back to cloudy skies and even some snow on the ground for my 6am(!) bike ride this morning, but the recent memory of sunshine made everything much more bearable.

Spring is coming!

Gnarly trunk.

And I’ve got more than photographs to tide me over until the next beautiful day.  I also have what might be some of the best granola in the world.  Seriously, I stood at the counter for a good 15 minutes after it came out of the oven continually popping bits into my mouth.  Then I remembered that I should save some to enjoy with coconut milk later this week.  It was hard to step away.  This is some seriously good granola.

I decided to keep it simple and stick with the cherry and almond flavors.  Now, I usually like to try and add just about anything that sounds good from my pantry to a recipe like this.  I like to use up all the little odds and ends of dry goods that I’ve got stashed away.  But sometimes simplicity is key and I managed to keep it simple for once.  Which I know can be hard when your pantry looks like this.

So many types of dried fruits and nuts calling my name.  I resisted the siren call and realized that it can pay to be a person of simple tastes now and then.

Before baking.

Who ate all that?

Cherry-Almond Granola
makes 2 cups

Ingredients
–  6 Tbsp maple syrup
– 1/4 cup almond butter
– 2 Tbsp coconut oil
– 1 tsp almond extract
– 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
– 1/4 cup almonds, chopped and toasted
– 1/2 cup dried bing cherries, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350F.  In a large bowl, combine oats, almonds, and cherries.

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring maple syrup, almond butter, coconut oil, and almond extract to a gentle boil.  Stir constantly for just a couple of minutes and then pour over dry ingredients.  Mix until evenly coated (you may have to use your hands).

Spread granola in a large oven-safe pan.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, stirring once.  Remove from oven and let cool.  It will get crunchy as it cools down.

Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

* I added this post to this week’s Whole Foods Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, These Chicks Cooked, Full Plate Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.