Big Cluster Cocoa Cherry Granola

“You go through big chunks of time where you’re just thinking, ‘This is impossible — oh, this is impossible.’ And then you just keep going and keep going, and you sort of do the impossible.” —Tina Fey

I think back to a year ago when my husband and I were trying to stay afloat during the newborn stage. I was recovering from my unwanted, although somewhat expected and very fortunate C-section. We were up multiple times a night, me attempting to nurse and then often with tears of defeat, handing my son over to my husband for a bottle while I tried to feed baby number two. After too little sleep, the sun would rise, I’d schlep my achy body downstairs and the daytime routine would commence.

As time went on, we figured out little tricks and some semblance of routine started to develop. We moved a mini fridge up to our bedroom to store formula so we didn’t have to go downstairs at three in the morning. I got one of those hands-free pumping bras that pre-babies, I laughed at because they looked so ridiculous...but after nodding off too many times while pumping and subsequently spilling liquid gold, I caved. Eventually, my body healed from surgery, my son finally latched and the kids started sleeping longer at night. I had been flailing around in neck-deep water, but after a while, the tide receded and I was only waist deep. I had a little breathing room.

Then teething started. My “how do I do this whole mom thing?” meltdowns hit me like a punch in the gut. The twins got their first fever, we called the doctor at 11pm like typical newbie parents, and we became really tired of being tired, again. Back to neck-deep water.

This first year has been a constant ebb and flow of challenges, as I’m sure the years to come will also be. One day, my feet feel firmly planted on the ground. The water still laps against my ankles, but I’m sturdy. Then the waves come, sometimes lifting me up and forcing me to swim for my life. Other times, the waves catch me completely off guard, knock me down and leave my sputtering and gasping for breath.

This motherhood thing? It’s hard. Some days, it seems impossible. But you just keep going and keep going…

…and you sort of do the impossible.

Big Cluster Cocoa Cherry Granola
Yields 6-7 cups

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup roughly chopped almonds

¼ cup cocoa powder

¼ teaspoon coarse salt

½ cup honey

2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg white

1½ - 2 cups dried cherries

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, cocoa powder and salt. Then add the honey, coconut oil and vanilla extract. Mix well.

In a separate small bowl, whisk the egg white until it’s frothy. Stir the egg white into the granola mixture, and mix until fully incorporated. 

Pour the granola out onto the prepared baking sheet. Use a spoon (or your hands) to spread it out into an even layer. Gently press down on the granola to help it stick together. 

Bake for about 40-50 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through to ensure even cooking. The granola should darken slightly and feel mostly dry to the touch. If you’re using a dark pan, you may need to decrease the cooking time slightly. 

Remove from the oven and let it cool completely (resist the urge to stir!). The granola will get more crisp and crunchy as it cools. When it’s cool, break up the granola into whatever size clusters you like, and stir in the dried cherries. 

The granola will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple weeks. For a longer shelf life, store it in the freezer. 

Words and photos by Sarah Hauser

p.s. Granola makes a great gift for new moms! Cards available in our shop