I have a confession: I don’t really like yogurt. I’ve tried so many times over the years to make myself like it, but it always ends with me having to throw out a bunch of expired yogurt containers. But then I made that Cherry-Rhubarb Fool last month and I realized that yogurt can be good as long as it’s the base for something else. So yogurt by itself = meh, but yogurt + fruit + whipped cream = yum.
Last week I got some absolutely gorgeous peaches and cherries from my CSA and I had big container of yogurt that was close to expiring, so I decided combining them would be a great way to use everything up. But instead of mixing it all together like I did with the fool I made it a yogurt parfait. Because what’s more fun than a parfait? It just feels so much more decadent than a simple bowl of yogurt topped with fruit. Sometimes I have to trick myself into eating things that are better for me and this is a trick that worked really well.
This is a dead simple recipe to prepare and you could substitute lots of different fruit or berries depending on what you have on hand. The fruit is tossed in a simple syrup infused with lemon and orange. I put a layer of yogurt between the fruit and then topped the whole thing with some fresh whipped cream. It makes an incredibly satisfying breakfast or dessert.
I’m glad to have found a way to make yogurt more palatable for myself, but still, I have to admit that yogurt is not terribly exciting. But Maple Granola Brittle? That is pretty exciting to me. I couldn’t really say for sure how healthy this stuff is for you since it does have quite a bit of sugar, but it at least contains lots of other good ingredients like oats and almonds and fresh orange juice. And that’s good because this brittle is addictive. I’ve been snacking on it all week long!
The recipe is relatively simple to prepare, too: start with some granola, cook sugar, maple syrup and orange juice together until it caramelizes, add the granola to the caramel and roll everything flat. It dries hard, but it’s thin enough that it’s not difficult to chew. When you break it up into smaller pieces it’s like eating little granola cookies. The maple and orange flavors really shine, so I highly recommend using good quality syrup and fresh squeezed orange juice.
This brittle is perfect to serve with the yogurt parfait since its crunchiness is such a great contrast with the soft yogurt and fruit. You can play with the granola mix to add in your favorite kinds of nuts or seeds. I don’t like lots of “stuff” in my granola so I just put in some chopped up almonds and ground up flaxseed, but you can add in or substitute pecans, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds or whatever else you like.
Cherry-Peach Yogurt Parfaits
Breakfast, Snack | Servings: 4-6
Prep time: 30 min | Cook time: 10 minutes | Total time: 1 hour 10 min
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 5 fresh bay leaves, halved lengthwise, OR 2 large dried bay leaves
- 2 (3- by 1-inch) strips lemon peel
- 2 (3- by 1-inch) strips orange peel
- 6 small peaches (substitute: apricots)
- 1 lb. fresh cherries (preferably Royal Ann or Rainier)
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- 2 cups plain or vanilla yogurt (whatever fat content you want, but preferably Greek)
- 1 cup heavy cream OR 2 cups store-bought whipped cream
- 1/4 cup, or to taste, sugar (only if whipping your own cream)
- Simmer sugar, water, bay leaves and peels in a 1-quart saucepan for 5 minutes, then remove from heat and let steep 20 minutes.
- While syrup steeps Blanch and peel the peaches and cut into even slices, about 1/2 or 3/4 inch thick; discard the pits.
- Use a cherry pitter to remove pits and then slice the cherries in half. Alternately, run a paring knife crosswise around each cherry, touching pit, then twist the cherry halves to separate. Remove pits with tip of your knife.
- Toss peaches and cherries with lemon juice in a large shallow bowl. Return syrup to a boil, then pour over the peaches and cherries, tossing to coat. Cover and let stand, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is at room temperature, about 30 minutes to an hour. Remove peels and bay leaves before serving.
- Once the fruit mixture is ready, whip the heavy cream and sugar in a chilled bowl until stiff.
- To assemble the parfaits, fill a glass a quarter of the way with the fruit mixture making sure there is some syrup in the bottom of the glass.
- Top with enough yogurt to fill the glass halfway.
- For the second fruit layer, place a strainer over your bowl of fruit and spoon some of the mixture into it, letting the syrup drain out. Add fruit on top of the yogurt until the glass is 3/4 full.
- Finally, spoon the whipped cream on top.
- Repeat process with remaining glasses. This should fill about 4 tall glasses or 6 short ones.
The fruit mixture can be made the night before and stored in the fridge. Spoon some over your morning yogurt for an even faster breakfast. It keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days, but the fruit will get softer the longer it’s in there.
Maple Granola Brittle
Breakfast, Snack | Servings: 6
Prep time: 10 min | Cook time: 25 minutes | Total time: 1 hour 5 min
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup (2.5 oz) almonds, whole, sliced or ground/chopped into chunks (your choice)
- 1/3 cup flaxseed, ground up in a blender or food processor
- 1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
Feel free to add more nuts or seeds but the total amount of granola should not exceed 3 cups. So for example, if you add in 1/2 cup of nuts and 1/2 cup seeds, reduce the amount of rolled oats to 1 cup instead of 2.
- 1/2 cup (2 oz) pecans
- 1/2 cup (2 oz) shelled sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz) roasted pumpkin seeds (these should not be baked, add them to the granola when you add the zest)
- Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
- Spread oats, almonds, and flaxseed in an even layer on a large baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes or until oats are pale golden. Transfer to a bowl and toss with zest.
- Line a baking sheet (if using the same one as above, make sure it’s cooled off first) with nonstick liner like a Silpat baking mat. Measure out enough parchment paper to cover the baking sheet. Don’t place it on the baking sheet, though, you will use it later.
- Add brown sugar, maple syrup, orange juice, and salt to a 3 or 4-quart heavy saucepan. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan or use an instant thermometer. Cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture is thicker and the thermometer registers 290 degrees (F), about 8-12 minutes. You may need to turn the heat up a bit if it seems to be taking too long to reach that temperature, but be very careful because it will start burning very easily. If it starts looking/smelling burnt and you are close to 290 (280+), you can proceed to the next step.
- Stir in butter until melted, the mixture will thicken and become opaque.
- Quickly add oat mixture and stir until coated well.
- Immediately pour onto your lined baking sheet, then cover the mixture with the parchment paper.
- Roll out the mixture as thin as possible with a rolling pin, about 1/4 inch thick. Carefully peel off parchment paper and discard (don’t worry if some caramel sticks to parchment).
- Cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Break brittle into large pieces.
Store in an air tight container for up to two weeks. Stack it in layers divided by parchment to prevent the pieces from sticking together.