sweet and salty cherry-almond granola in a sheet pan on a rustic tabletop

Cherry-Almond Granola

Cherry-Almond Granola

Yield: approximately 8 cups

Active time: approximately 30 minutes

Total time: 1 hour

With school starting up again, and with summer still in full swing, maybe you need a snack for school, or for home school (gah), or the beach, or the lake, or to tote with you on a hike. Or maybe you just need a snack. So here's one!

There's something about the combination of the salty sunflower kernels, the toasted almonds, and the dried cherries and cranberries that makes me think of a slightly more adult version of peanut butter and jelly. I don't know if this totally makes sense, but let me know what you think once you try it. 

It's great eaten out of hand, so perfect for that hike or beach day, though it's also fab atop yogurt. I like to gild that lily and drizzle a little honey over it all, AND it should be noted that this very same granola-plus-honey approach works well with vanilla ice cream. In case you’re curious.

Also, if you need a quick something-something to gift to a neighbor or friend - because who couldn't use a gift right about now? - you could fill a Ball jar with granola, get some honey (see a theme? yep. we're also about to be in honey harvest mode here, I bet you couldn't tell!), and gift away. 

Ingredients:

4 cups old fashioned rolled oats

¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

¾ cup (packed) dark brown sugar

the zest and juice of 1 navel orange (approximately ¼ cup juice)

2 cups blanched almond slivers, toasted {see note}

¾ cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped

¾ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup roasted salted sunflower seeds

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, olive oil, brown sugar, orange zest, and orange juice.

Line a large (10 by 15-inch-ish) rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, pour the oat mixture onto the sheet, and spread the oats into a level layer.

Bake until the oats are golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes.

Remove the oats from the oven; scrape the oats on the edges back toward the middle of the pan to help prevent them from clumping.

Allow the oats to cool for 10 minutes before raking through them with a fork to break them up. This can also look less like raking and more like stabbing, depending on your fork moves. 

Transfer the oats into a large mixing bowl, then add the toasted almonds, dried cherries, dried cranberries, and sunflower seeds.

Stir well, then transfer to an airtight container, where the granola will keep for up to 2 weeks.

note: to toast the almonds, preheat the oven to 350°F, spread the almonds on a 9 by 13-inch rimmed baking sheet, and bake until they are golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. This CAN be done while the oats bake, but be sure to keep an eye on the almonds, as they can go from lovely golden brown to burnt, especially at the edges of the pan, quite quickly. It's always a good idea to check them starting around 8 minutes just to be sure things aren't getting out of control. 

a small bowl of cherry-almond granola on a rustic tabletop

*if you're interested in that fun anchor stripe tea towel way back up at the top of this post, that bad boy is here. Thank you! :) 

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