Mocha Cherry Granola

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My son, Jack, started eighth grade this year.  It's cool to be in the big dog grade of junior high, but not so cool to be the last one to eat.  By the time 1 pm rolls around, he is starving.  With his late lunch period in mind, I need to make sure he has a breakfast that will take him through the day.  Granola makes for a tasty, substantial first meal that provides a base of energy to last several hours.  And teenagers burn energy.  Sometimes I feel like I'm shoveling coal into the engine of a locomotive in the 19th century.   

Pardon the digression...on to the taste.  What is it about the combination of chocolate and coffee?  While each is great on its own, they bring out the best in each other when paired---kind of like two great actors.  And when surrounded by a capable ensemble including a star turn by dried cherries, the chemistry is delicious.  And the bonus at the bottom of the bowl-- mocha milk☺.

Mocha Cherry Granola
yields 8 cups

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup puffed rice cereal
1 cup chopped hazelnuts
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 Tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons espresso powder
1 extra large egg white 
4.25 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup dried cherries, chopped if they are large 

Preheat the oven to 325ยบ F and place a rack in the center of the oven.  Lightly grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

In a large bowl combine the rolled oats, puffed rice, hazelnuts, salt, and brown sugar making sure there are no brown sugar clumps.  In another bowl stir together the melted butter, syrup, vanilla and egg white.  Pour the wet mixture over the dry and toss together making sure all the dry ingredients are coated with the butter mixture.  

Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and stir the granola.  Return to the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. You will notice that the granola is still soft, but it will crisp and dry as it cools. Allow the mixture to cool completely on the pan before stirring (this will give you nice granola clusters). Once the granola is cool, break up large pieces and stir in the chocolate and dried cherries.  Store in an airtight container.  Enjoy!

Source: The Galley Gourmet


  1. This looks great-I can't believe you have an 8th grader-you look way too young! :)

    1. Thanks! It is hard to believe he is in eighth grade. As far as my age... I was 22 when I had him and he is 13 (14 next week). I'll let you do the math☺.

  2. me oh my, talk about the perfect start to any day!


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