A Couple Of Nuts [Dried Cherry and Pistachio Granola]

20131230-112417.jpg20131230-112456.jpgI was born with a best friend (corn alert!). I think that’s the best part about having a twin. On Boxing Day, my twin brother (said best friend) headed off to work as the dance captain on a cruise ship. We’ll miss him of course, but hopefully this just gives me an excuse to go on a vacation.20131230-113552.jpgJust before he left, we were lucky enough to squeeze in a little twin (and poodle) photo shoot with the wonderfully talented Cindy Bekkedam. It was so much fun, and perfect timing before T jetted off on his adventure. We had a ball hamming it up for the camera…we’re just a couple of nuts. 20131230-172241.jpg
T has always been allergic to all kinds of nuts, but he was recently retested and is now able to eat pecans and pistachios…it was pretty exciting. So just before he left we made this delicious granola that includes the couple of nuts he can now enjoy.

I love the idea of leaving the granola in the turned-off oven overnight so that it gets extra crispy, and with salted pistachios there is an addictive balance of salty and sweet in this recipe.
20131230-171015.jpg20131230-171225.jpgDried Cherry and Pistachio Granola (Recipe tweaked from Fine Cooking)
Yields 10 to 11 cups

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1-1/2 cups salted pistachios
1 cup coarsely chopped pecan halves
1 cup unsweetened coconut chips or unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbsp. packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup dried cherries, preferably unsweetened

The night before…
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the maple syrup and olive oil and stir well. Spread onto the prepared sheet and bake until just starting to turn golden, about 15 minutes. Turn off the oven. Stir the granola mixture, return to the oven, and close the door. Let the granola sit in the oven for 6 to 12 hours (you can go to sleep in the meantime!).

The next morning…
Transfer the granola to a large bowl, breaking up any large clumps. Stir in the dried cherries and serve. (Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 1 month.)

Enjoy with milk or yogurt, or on it’s own. It’s great for breakfast or snacking on any time of day. Happy munching!

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