There is nothing like one (or even two) hot, soft, sticky cinnamon buns while you watch the kids open their gifts. But what if you’ve finished them all and you are still hungry? This crunchy concoction topped with some non-fat Greek yogurt will certainly hold you off until dinner without being too much of a fat buster. There is something to be said for giving a little bit of guiltless joy around the holidays.
- Cooking spray
- 3 cups rolled oats (not instant)
- 1 cup whole almonds (not salted)
- 1/2 cup blanched, slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup white sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (not salted)
- 3/4 cup cups light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons good quality cinnamon
- 1/2 cup real maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons canola or other vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cup dried, sour cherries
- Set your oven at 350 degrees and put racks in the middle of the oven. Lightly spray two large baking trays with cooking spray. Trays with a small lip work well here as they help to keep the granola from sliding off as you move it around during the cooking process.
- Pour the oats, almonds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, brown sugar and cinnamon into a large bowl. Mix well, taking care to break up any of the lumps in the brown sugar.
- Pour maple syrup and oil over the oat mixture and use two spatulas to mix well. Divide the mixture between the two prepared baking trays. Spread the mixture evenly on each tray.
- Bake the granola initially for 10 minutes. Open the oven and stir the granola on each tray around, taking care to pull the granola sitting along the edges of the trays into the center to avoid having some bits get darker than others. Put the trays back into the over for another 5 minutes. You are going for a nice golden, brown color. If it’s not at that color point after to the total of 15 minutes, keep the trays in the oven but check each minute thereafter as this mixture — with both the sugar and the syrup — can go dark brown very quickly. When the right color is acheived, pull the trays out of the oven. Once again, give the granola a stir on the tray. This will help ensure it doesn’t stick when you need to remove it from the trays. Cool completely. The mixture gets crunchier as it cools.
- Once the granola is completely cooled transfer it from the trays to a large bowl and add the sour cherries, mixing them throughout. Do not skimp on the cooling time as hot — or even warm — aldmonds will turn the pretty red cherries dark, like you burned them. Use a jam funnel to put the cooled granola into mason jars.