Plum-Buttered Almond Cherry Granola


Cherries and almonds share a chemical romance. Cherry seeds taste like almonds and -- whether you've realized it or not -- almonds taste like cherries. The bitter-almond compound, benzaldehyde, is an essential ingredient in artificial cherry flavoring.

I marinated the oats in plum butter for an hour before toasting, to give this granola an inky, sultry depth, like a cherry coke with amaretto. You must use juicy dried cherries, not the sad puckered things you find in some stores. And I like sliced almonds, just because I like snapping brittle things in two. Hemp seeds are both nutty and sweet, and give you essential fatty acids, if not a high.

Recipe: Marinate 4 cups of oats with 3 tablespoons of plum butter, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, and a dash of salt for an hour. Toss with 1/2 cup of sliced almonds and toast in a 400 degree oven until golden brown, about 7-9 minutes. Remove from oven and add 2 tablespoons of hulled hemp seeds and 1/3 cup of dried cherries (I used unsweetened Bing).