Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cherry chocolate granola

I have to start by saying how horrified I was by what happened yesterday. I know some runners who were at the race (thank goodness they're OK) and I can't imagine how difficult it would have been to witness that in person. As a runner, and just a human being, it makes me so sad. The finish line of a marathon should be full of joy and the most incredible feeling of accomplishment, and to see what happened to runners and spectators was absolutely heartbreaking. My thoughts and prayers are with anyone and everyone affected.
On a lighter note, I do have a sweet recipe to share. This chocolate cherry granola makes for some good comfort food.
It started with this lovely cherry and black pepper bittersweet chocolate bar. I'm not crazy about eating chocolate bars on their own- I like chocolate mixed in with baked goods, ice cream, etc. So I wanted to put this bar to good use in a mixture deserving of its unique flavors. That mixture ended up being cherry granola.
First I processed some (about 12 medium-sized) dates with 1 tbsp warm water and 1/4 tsp cinnamon to make date butter.
I cut up the special chocolate bar.
Then, in a separate bowl, I mixed the following:
-1.5 cups oatmeal
-another 1/4 tsp cinnamon
-a pinch of nutmeg
-1/4 cup honey-roasted almonds
-1/3 cup dried cherries
-1 tbsp honey
-1 tbsp maple syrup
-1/3 cup chopped pieces of the chocolate bar
Then I added the date butter.
And mixed it really well with a spatula.
Placed it on a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap.
Pushed it down real good.
And placed it in the freezer to meld together. You could cut bars with it, or store it chunky and use it as a topping for yogurt and ice cream, or eat it as cereal with milk! I did a little bit of everything.
Exhibit A- bar form (I recommend storing bars in fridge or freezer).
Exhibit B- ice cream topping form. In making these, I really wanted the bittersweet chocolate and tart cherry flavors to stand out. If you like sweeter granola, I suggest doubling the honey and maple syrup (it will also make your bars gooey-er, so they'll stick together that much easier). If you love granola bars, I have a slightly similar recipe- for cranberry apricot bars- at this link.

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