Friday, June 7, 2013

White Chocolate Cherry Granola

Are you an early riser?  One that has plenty of time to get everything done that needs to be done before walking out the door and with time to spare?  Or are you one of those people that sleeps until the last possible minute before barreling out of bed after pushing the snooze for the umpteenth time, running around like a crazy person trying to get ready and run out the door to make it to work on time?
I am the early riser in my house.  I'm not a wake-up at the crack of dawn early rise, I mean I could definitely afford to get up a little bit earlier than I do but I am a early rise.  I don't know if it's necassarily by want that I'm the early riser, but I am the early riser in my house.  In the mornings I not only have time to get myself ready, but I have time to make smoothies for myself and Spencer as well as do a few odds and ends.  As much as I cringe as the sound of the alarm blaring, I do enjoy not running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  Having quick, and healthy options for breakfasts definitely helps to keep me on track to getting out the door in a timely manner.
Granola is one of those things I'm not only addicted to, but that I love having on hand.  While it's a great option for breakfast, it's also the perfect treat to have on hand for an afternoon snack or pick-me-up.  It's so easy and transportable; put some in a plastic bag and toss it in your purse, keep some in a plastic container in the car for a snack on the go or for a treat to keep the kids hunger contained until you get home. 

Probably one of my favorite things about homemade granola is just how easy it is to make.  Not only is it incredibly easy, it's also customizable.  You can make your own granola, control what goes in, and customize it to your tastes.  It's also a fun snack to make with the younger "chefs" who love helping in any way possible.  Granola is that perfect thing to let the those little chefs have freedom in the kitchen and let their imagination go wild with flavor combinations.  While plain ol' granola with a touch of honey and some nuts is delicious, the options are endless and there are tons of things that can be added to twist things up and turn that flavor up just one more notch.
This white chocolate cherry granola is just one of the many varieties of granola that you can make.  I love the combination of the tart cherries, sweet and crunchy granola and the hints of smooth white chocolate.  It's amazing and so addicting.  It's like candy.  The best part is it takes very little time to make.  I guess that's one of the many reasons I love making my own granola; it's fun and it's so easy!  I highly recommend this granola, but I also encourage you to get adventurous and try some of your own, favorite flavor combos.  Once you make your first batch of granola, you won't stop! 

White Chocolate Cherry Granola

2 Cups old fashioned oats
3 1/2 Tbsp flax seeds
1/3 Cup almonds, roughly chopped
Pinch of salt
3 Tbsp raw honey
2 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp apple juice
1 1/3 Cups dried cherries
2 ounces white chocolate
1/2 Cup white chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 325.

In a large bowl combine oats, flax seeds, almonds and salt and stir to combine.  Set aside.  Spray a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Place honey, butter and apple juice in a small saucepan and place over low-medium heat and allow butter to melt.  Stir to combine.  Once the butter has melted, increase heat and bring to a bubble.  Once the mixture has started bubbling, allow mixture to boil 1 1/2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and pour over the oat mixture and stir to combine and until everything is fully coated.

Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and spread into an even layer.  Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.  Stir mixture every 5-10 minutes.  Once the mixture is toasted remove from oven and allow to cool completely. 

Once the mixture has cooled add the dried cherries and toss to combine.  Melt the white chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 10 seconds, and drizzle over the granola.  Let chocolate set, until cool, then stir the granola to coat in the white chocolate.  Allow chocolate to dry, add chocolate chips and toss to combine.  Store in airtight containers for up to two weeks.

Recipe source: A Lynsey Original

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