Blueberry Granola and Cinnamon Vanilla Yogurt Parfaits

Blueberry Granola and Cinnamon Yogurt Parfaits Yogurt and Granola Parfaits
This is a very simple snack that you can make ahead of time and have it ready to pull out of the fridge at any time during the week!  I had some blueberries in the freezer that needed to be used and so I created a soft granola that could be good cut into bars, or crumbled up like I did here, to add to yogurt, cereal, ice cream, whatever!  I love these little jam jar parfaits – I used the small 4 oz. size for Olive and used the bigger 6 oz. size for us big kids.  Layered with plain, rich Greek yogurt that I mixed with some cinnamon and vanilla bean paste – these are ready for my fridge and ready for a week of snack time, pregnancy cravings or a quick breakfast!

Sweetening plain yogurt with cinnamon and vanilla bean paste (which is slightly sweet) adds enough sweetness without adding several teaspoons of honey or sugar, like we all feel compelled to do with plain yogurt.  You’re getting plenty of sugar from granola (never let anyone tell you granola is a diet food) and so there’s no need to add even more by buying a pre-sweetened yogurt (which can have over 20 grams of sugar in each serving!) This recipe makes a really large batch of granola that’ll last you a while and I hope you enjoy the smell of your entire house while you make it!

blueberry granola parfaits

Blueberry Granola Parfaits
makes about 3 cups of granola

2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup steel cut oats
1 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 TBS cinnamon
1 TBS vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup honey
1 stick melted butter
1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1/2 cup dried currants, raisins, whatever you like

In a large mixing bowl, combine the rolled oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda and cinnamon.  In a medium bowl, combine the steel cut oats and 1 cup boiling water and let them soak for 20 minutes.  Drain and add to the other oat mixture.  If you don’t want to do this, simply add 2 more cups of regular rolled oats.  I liked the steel cut chewiness, but I’ve done this recipe with all rolled oats before and it works fine either way!

Add to the oat mixture the vanilla bean paste (can sub regular vanilla extract), melted butter and honey and stir well to combine everything.  Gently fold in the blueberries, currants and pecans (or any trifecta you desire).  Spread mixture out on a greased, rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Take it out and let it cool and then break it all up and spread it out on the sheet again and let it bake at 250 for about 30 more minutes until it’s all golden brown.  If you want to make granola bars, increase your first bake time to 30 minutes and let it cool completely before cutting into bars.  While it’s cooling and still hot, I’d spread some white chocolate chips over the top and let them melt and then spread them all over for a topping for your granola bars, if you’re gonna swing that way.

Cinnamon Yogurt

1 cup Greek yogurt, plain
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together and whip up until fully blended.  Layer in cute little jars with the granola and top with fresh berries for the snack pictured here!  Garnishing with mint adds a wonderful flavor addition and brightens everything up.

*this can easily be made gluten-free by substituting the flour for coconut flour and insuring that your oats are gluten free.  Check the box – a lot of brands are, nowadays!

Cinnamon Yogurt and Blueberry Granola Parfaits

Pavlovas with Black Cherry Syrup

Cherry Pavlova with Greek Yogurt

 

While we were on our trip last week, Matt and I stole away, left the kid with our friends, and had a little adventure in Seattle.  After a ferry ride and a crazy time trying to catch the bus in the midst of 300,000 people watching a parade downtown, we finally made it to Delancy – a pizza place that’s out of this world.  We seek out pizza in nearly every town we visit.  Okay, okay, we seek out FOOD in every town we visit, but more often than not, that will include a pizza joint.  Matt has been perfecting his pizza crust for the past few years and I can safely say after hundreds of pizzas made at home and hundreds we have tried out and about, Delancy is the best out and about and Matt’s is just as good – only it’s in our own kitchen.  Score one for Palmsey.  

This is beginning to sound like a pizza post, but it’s not.  I already did that a few months ago and the recipe hasn’t changed!  This is a post about how awesome Delancy was, and how you should go there, and when you do go there, go next door to get a drink because you’ll have an hour wait.  Next door is an extension of Delancy’s kitchen called Essex and they have wonderful appetizers and desserts.  One of which we ordered at the end of our perfect pizza experience – a pavlova with Greek yogurt and raspberries.  I’d had pavlova (baked meringue) with other fruits and it’s traditionally served with creme anglais or ice cream, but the Greek yogurt was such a wonderful way to cut the almost-too-sweet combination of a sugary meringue and raspberry syrup.  This desert was gone in about 5 seconds and went immediately on my list of recipes to recreate once I got home.

So here we are.  I got home on Tuesday and went shopping.  Raspberries were $3 for a half pint.  No thank you.  Cherries were $1.50 for a whole pound.  Sold.  I cooked the cherries down in a little brown sugar and let the juices bubble away and form a syrup and whipped up a little full-fat, plain Greek yogurt to place in the meringues once they were baked.  When Matt got home, I had two portions set out and while Olive napped, we ate.  Before dinner.  The joys of being an adult.  Matt even exclaimed, “This is EXACTLY RIGHT” which, if you know Matt, really means something.  I was proud of the recreation and I’ll definitely make it, again.  Maybe next time with apricot preserves…the options are really endless!

Pavlova with Black Cherry Syrup and Greek Yogurt

 

Pavlovas with Cherries and Yogurt*
makes 8-10 pavlovas, depending on size

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
5-6 (about 6 oz) large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch salt

Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 275°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Stir the cornstarch into the sugar in a small bowl.

In a large bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, fitted with whisk attachment, whip egg whites, cream of tartar and salt, starting on low, increasing to medium speed until soft peaks start to become visible, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.

Increase speed to medium-high, slowly and gradually sprinkling in the sugar-cornstarch mixture. A few minutes after these dry ingredients are added, slowly pour in the vanilla.  Increase speed a bit and whip until meringue is glossy, and stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 4 to 5 minutes.

Pipe or spoon the meringue into 8-10 large round mounds that are 3 inches wide on the parchment-lined baking sheet.  With the back of a spoon, create an indentation in the middle of the mound for holding the filling once meringue is baked.

Place baking sheet in the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 250°F. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the meringues are crisp, dry to the touch on the outside, and white — not tan-colored or cracked. The interiors should have a marshmallow-like consistency. Check on meringues at least once during the baking time. If they appear to be taking on color or cracking, reduce temperature 25 degrees, and turn pan around.

Gently lift from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. Will keep in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for a week.

*recipe adapted from Simply Recipes

Black Cherry Pavlova

Cherry Compote
makes about a cup

2 cups pitted cherries
1/4 cup brown sugar
Squeeze of lemon

Put the cherries and the brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and let it come to a simmer.  Let it cook for about 20 minutes, mashing the cherries a bit as you go.  When the syrup starts to thicken a bit, take it off the heat and squeeze a lemon over it all and stir it up until incorporated.  Let the sauce come to room temp before topping the pavlovas.  

To Assemble:

Take one meringue shell and place it on a plate.  Scoop out a generous 1/4 cup of full-fat Greek yogurt and place on top of the meringue.  Top the yogurt generously with the chunky cherry syrup and serve!  Modify as you wish with whipped cream, creme anglais, frozen yogurt – whatever you like!  And if you can’t make a fruity compote, I suppose warming up some preserves wouldn’t be too shabby 🙂

 

Greek Yogurt and Almond Butter Cheesecake

yogurt cheesecake002
I made this cheesecake last weekend for the 4th of July festivities.  By festivities, I mean meals.  Olive has been consuming a lot of yogurt lately (plain, full fat awesome stuff sweetened with a little bit of honey) and I did one of those “I thought we were out” mistakes and bought a huge container to come home and realize we already had a huge container.  I hate wasting and so I have been putting Greek yogurt in a lot of stuff , lately.  This morning I made yogurt and oatmeal waffles (really good, I’ll post about those, soon) and when I ran across a recipe that called for 2 cups of yogurt in a cheesecake, I knew I’d found my way to not waste!  Oh, how humble of me to eat a cheesecake in order to not waste yogurt.  It’s a hard life.

This is the no-bake type of cheesecake I grew up eating.  I love the kind you bake and there’s a place for that (that place is anywhere) but for these super hot summer days, a lighter, fluffier, doesn’t-heat-up-your-kitchen dessert is the way to go.  And using those strawberries I almost ALWAYS let rot on my counter is a plus, too!  For the topping, I chopped up almost-bad strawberries, a few blueberries and mixed them up with a bit of honey and let it sit out while I made the cheesecake.  By the time everything was ready, the topping was perfect.

The addition of almond butter adds such a wonderful flavor.  I think if I make this again, I’d try using peanut butter, just to see what it would be like!  The original blogger of this recipe said that it was “healthy” and could be eaten for breakfast because it has yogurt and granola in the crust.  I think that’s a marvelous way to feel like taking a nap at about 10:30, so I wouldn’t recommend it (this is based on experience).  Just because something has granola and yogurt doesn’t make it healthy.  This is perhaps lighter than most cheesecakes, but it also has cream cheese and whipping cream, so you do the math.  Or don’t do math.  Just enjoy dessert and stop thinking about whether it’s healthy or not. Of course you shouldn’t eat it every day.  If you want to, then sure, obsess over calories.  If you only eat stuff like this on weekends, then by all means, go for the gold.

photo (1)
This little hand loved every bite.

yogurt cheesecake003

Greek Yogurt and Almond Butter Cheesecake*

For the Granola:
1 cup rolled or old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup finely shredded coconut
1/4 cup chopped cashews
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp coconut oil (or butter would work fine – just make sure it’s soft and at room temp)
1/4 cup honey

Crust:
1 1/2 cups granola you just made
4 whole grain honey graham crackers
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake Filling:
8 oz cream cheese, room temp
3/4 cup + 1/4 cup sugar, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup almond butter
2 cups plain greek yogurt – full fat, y’all
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, coconut, and nuts. In a measuring cup or separate bowl, whisk together the salt, coconut oil, and honey. Pour this mixture over the oats, and stir to completely coat the ingredients. Spread the mixture into an even layer on a baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Flip granola around with a spatula every 3-4 minutes to prevent burning and to get an even golden-brown crisp. After baking, set granola aside to cool.

Once the granola is cool to the touch, combine the granola and graham crackers in a food processor. Puree for 60-90 seconds, until a very fine and crumb-like texture. Pour in melted butter, and stir to combine evenly. Next, spread the crust mixture into the bottom of an 9-in round springform pan. Press down to compact into an even layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 3-4 minutes. (Do not let it burn!) Set aside to cool.

To make the filling, add the cream cheese and 3/4 of a cup of sugar to the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the cheese and sugar together until smooth and fluffy. Add the vanilla and almond butter, and beat until incorporated. Then, remove the bowl from the mixer, and fold in the Greek yogurt with a spatula. (Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl!)

In a separate bowl, whisk the heavy cream with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the cheesecake filling. Finally, pour the filling into the cooled granola crust, and spread into an even layer with a spatula. Cover with foil or plastic wrap, and freeze overnight.

To serve, run a paring knife around the edges of the cheesecake to loosen the sides from the pan. Then, unlatch the springform pan. Transfer the cheesecake to a cake stand or serving platter and garnish with fresh fruit.

*adapted from the adorable Mangoes and Palm Trees blog