Sometime in the past decade or so, I became a stingy Scottish granny. At least, this is what I have been told. Well, I haven’t been told that I, specifically, have turned into a stingy Scottish granny, but I have been told, many times over, that my non-Indian grandmother often referred to herself as being a stingy Scottish lady, and, well, it appears as though that apple hasn’t fallen too far from its tree. But allow me to back up just a bit.
Over the summer, I spent several lovely mornings in the company of my best friend, who had just had a baby. We spent our mornings together chatting, squeezing her new baby, and walking to a nearby place to get coffee. One day, while waiting in line, I was gazing at the selection of baked goods, practically drooling all over the glass as I ogled their offerings of scones bursting with fruit, cookies packed with nuts, and a huge, nearly overflowing glass jar of granola. The granola was a deeply golden brown, studded with big chunks of dried cherries and slivers of almonds. I could practically feel the crunch of the granola between my teeth as I brought my face closer and closer to the display counter, almost certain that the only thing that would make my coffee even better was a big bowl of cherry almond granola.
And then, like something out of a cartoon—I mean, you could practically hear the record needle come to a scratching halt as my eyes hit the price tag—I noticed the going rate for a bowl of granola: $6.
Now, I realize that complaining about the cost of a pastry or breakfast item or, really, anything at all that comes from a restaurant is ridiculous, being as though the entire existence of restaurants if contingent upon charging lots of money for stuff that people simply don’t feel like making at home themselves, but the price of that granola set something off in me. $6 for a cup of granola with a scoop of yogurt on it? You can buy a three pound tub of oats for less than that, and I happen to know from experience that granola is made up of mostly oats. So, I did what I had to do. I took that knowledge and made my own cherry almond granola. And I did it my way—free of oil, low on sweetness, big on crunch, and heavy on the almond, I can’t imagine that the $6 granola tastes any better than this, and I don’t think I’ll ever bother to find out. I’ll be too busy spending $3 on a couple of shots of espresso with a splash of milk tossed in. Because that, of course, makes perfect financial sense. Ahem.
Cherry Almond Granola Recipe
6 cups rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1 cup sliced almonds
¼ cup wheat germ (optional)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
1 cup unfiltered apple cider
¼ cup grade B pure maple syrup
1/3 cup almond butter
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
½ cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large baking dish, combine oats, almonds, wheat germ, cinnamon, and sea salt. Stir with a wooden spoon or toss with your hands to combine.
In a medium bowl, or in a large measuring cup, whisk together apple cider, maple syrup, almond butter, and almond extract. Pour the apple cider mixture over the oat mixture, and stir to thoroughly combine.
Bake the granola in the center of the oven for 2 hours, stirring once or twice just to keep the granola from sticking to the bottom of the baking dish, until the mixture is crisp and golden. Remove from oven, stir in the dried cherries, and allow to cool completely before packing away in an air-tight container.