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Day-After-Valentine's-Day Real-Life-Granola

February 15, 2017

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The day after Valentine's Day. Perhaps there's an ever so slight droop to the roses, or that sweet card has a little bend in the middle. Or maybe the takeout boxes are still out on the table. Whatever. It's morning, and you need breakfast.

Thankfully, this granola is here for you like a trusty friend. It's not glamorous, but it's still got style thanks to semisweet chocolate and dried tart cherries in the mix. It takes some time to toast - about an hour in the oven - but, save a few stirs here and there, it's mostly hands-off. Then, for the rest of the week, you can bask in your own cleverness as you dish out bowl after bowl of simple, tasty breakfasts with just the right amount of decadence.

Enjoy with a generous dollop of yogurt or a heavy-handed pour of milk, and maybe some sliced fresh fruit if you want to get real fancy. When you could start every day with chocolate cherries, who needs Valentine's, anyway?

Chocolate Cherry Granola

3 cups rolled oats
heaping 1/2 cups chopped raw almonds
heaping 1/2 cups chopped raw cashews
1/3 c sunflower seeds
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tbsp neutral-flavored oil
5 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/2 c + 1 to 2 tbsp semisweet chocolate chunks, to preference
1/2 to 3/4 cup dried tart cherries or dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 250 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium to large bowl, mix oats, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, and cocoa powder. In a separate small bowl, whisk together oil, honey, and salt. Add oil mixture to oat mixture and combine thoroughly. Spread evenly over the lined baking sheet. Place on a rack in the middle of the oven and toast for 30 minutes, stirring / tossing halfway through. After 30 minutes, turn heat up to 275 F and toast another 20-30 minutes, stirring halfway. Check on it frequently towards the end to make sure it doesn't burn; it should smell toasty and look darkened, but not very dark.

Remove and let cool for 5 minutes. Add chocolate chips and toss to combine evenly. Let cool another 10 minutes, then add cherries and toss again. The melted chocolate should form a coating on the granola. Let sit to finish cooling completely. Enjoy with milk or yogurt, or by the handful as a snack. You deserve it.