Store-bought granola can be expensive and full of added sugars. I prefer to make my own, tailoring it exactly to my tastes, and using just a few ingredients. In this granola, I use dried fruit, specifically Montmorency tart cherries. Dried fruit will burn if added before it’s baked, so instead the tart cherries are stirred in just after the oat mixture comes out of the oven.
The coating for the cherries is best if it’s half sweetener and half neutral oil – in this recipe I use coconut oil because of the subtle coconut flavor it adds to the granola, but it can easily be substituted with grapeseed oil or another neutral oil like canola. I love the way the tart cherries balance out the sweetness of the honey granola in this recipe making it the ideal snack. Tart cherries are true to their name, adding a delicious sour-sweet flavor to any dish.
Montmorency tart cherries are grown in the US, particularly in the area around Traverse City, Michigan, the cherry capital of the world where a majority of the Montmorency tart cherry crop is grown. Utah, Washington, New York, Wisconsin, Oregon and Pennsylvania are other prominent tart cherry-producing states! They are sought after because they retain their bright ruby-red color when they are dried, frozen, canned or juiced. While the cherries are harvested during the summer months, they are available in their other forms year-round.
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