No. 185: Cherry Pistachio Granola Clusters

There is just nothing better than coming home from vacation on a Friday or Saturday. I love having the rest of the weekend to settle into home routines and catch up on to-dos before the work week begins.

Case in point, I snuggled with kiddos this morning while sipping some coffee. Just no time for that on a Monday:(

One of my happiest to-dos on the list is always some cooking. These clusters from The Kitchn had been on my radar for a while and I was excited to try them.

Ingredients

Makes about 7 cups

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups shelled pistachios (see note below)
1/2 cup pepitas
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup good-quality olive oil
3/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups dried tart cherries

Note: If your pistachios have already been roasted, add them at the very end with the cherries so they don't scorch during baking.

To make

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees with a rack in the lower-middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the oats, pistachios (if not roasted), pepitas, sunflower seeds, salt, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl.

Dry ingredients

In a separate bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the oil, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla. Pour the oil-honey mixture over the dry ingredients and stir gently until all the ingredients are evenly coated.

Transfer the granola to the lined baking sheet. Spread it out so it covers the baking sheet evenly.

Ready to bake

Bake until the granola is deeply golden and smells delicious, about 45 minutes. Stir the granola every 15 minutes — do not stir more frequently; the granola will still be loose and "wet"-looking even toward the end of baking. When you think the granola is almost done, stir in the cherries and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Once you remove the granola from the oven, do not stir again; it will crisp and solidify into clusters as it cools.

Cooling

Once the granola has cooled completely, break it into clusters. Lift the edges of the parchment to help dislodge large pieces of granola and use your fingers to break it apart.

The results

Once completely cool, this sheet of granola breaks into nice chewy chunks. These simple clusters are a terrific way to liven up your morning yogurt.

Final clusters

Trust your eyes on this recipe and pull out the granola if it's browning faster than expected. My oven has a nasty hot spot in the back left corner, so I rotated the pan a few times to even out the exposure of the granola. This also meant that my granola cooked up in more like 35 minutes, not the full 45.

I'll be bagging a few of these clusters together for friends this week!

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