Morning Buzz Smoothie. It's really rather inconvenient. But I know if I do not attack the inspiration at that moment it will most certainly land as a scratchy scribble on a scrap of envelope, or even worse, one of my children's thoughtfully drawn pieces of artwork (cringe! yes, I have done that, not proud of it, just sayin') and never come to fruition. So, I pressed on, amidst the chaos and came up with this delightful little treat.
I don't quite know whether I should classify it as a dessert or snack. Maybe both. It is sweet, that's for sure, but yogurt always equals "snack" to me. Choose what you like. I'll leave it up to you.
I strained the yogurt the night before, not knowing what it would end up in, in the morning. I love strained yogurt. It's a cheap way of having Greek yogurt. It's so thick and luxurious, even if it's low-fat, that it seems like your eating something bad, so that's always a good thing.
I fell in love with exotic flavors. One being, rosewater. Well, I certainly didn't fall in love with it right away. I hated it at first, along with grape leaves and lamb. I'm still working on a relationship with the lamb. But the more family gatherings I attended, the more I tasted. The more I tasted and fell in love with those who prepared it, the more I fell in love with the food. Seeing the love behind it all made it easier for me to find room on my stingy palate for these new found flavors. Rose water is now among one of my favorite flavors.
So I thought this morning, what could I add to this yogurt that would be a surprising element and meld well with the fruit I had laying around? There was a sad-looking bowl of cherries staring at me from the corner of my counter tops, so I guessed they would be going in. Okay, fine, what else do I have? I scrounged around in the pantry hoping to find walnuts but all I found was a half a bag of whole almonds. Not bad. I decided these would play the role of crunch-factor. There must always be a crunch-factor.
I will quit the rambling and give you the recipe. It turned out far better than I expected. Oh, and about the almonds, the recipe makes more than what you will use on the yogurt, but make the whole recipe anyways because I couldn't stop snacking on them.
Rose Water Yogurt with Black Cherry Syrup and Spiced Almonds
Prep time: 10 minutes Bake time: 20 minutes Oven temp: 350 degrees
Serves: 4 small servings or 2 big ones
Rose water Yogurt
32 oz. plain, low-fat yogurt, strained
1/2 tsp. rose water (you can find this at Middle Eastern stores)
1 tbls. honey
Set a mesh strainer lined with cheese cloth or paper towel over a larger bowl to catch the liquid. Pour in yogurt. Fold over cheese cloth over the top of the yogurt. Let it set in frig overnight. Discard liquid and dump out thicken yogurt into a fresh bowl. Add rose water and honey, mix. Set aside.
1 c. whole, raw almonds
1 tbs. honey
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. salt
4-5 cranks of the pepper mill
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment. Pour honey over almonds and mix. Mix together all spices and salt, then sprinkle over almonds. Mix to coat. Pour onto cookie sheet. Bake for 10 min. give a stir with a spatula and bake 10 min. more, until almonds are nice an fragrant. Set aside to cool completely.
Black Cherry Syrup
2 c. fresh pitted black cherries (Bing cherries)
1/2 c. sugar
Place both ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan over med. heat. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. As the juices come out of the fruit and mix with the sugar it will make a syrup. This takes about 10- 15 min. As I was in a hurry, I placed the cherry syrup in an ice bath to chill. It took only 10 min.
Arrange the yogurt, almonds and cherries however you like. I tried several different ways. A parfait looks beautiful, layering the cherries between the yogurt with the almonds on top. I thought though, the yogurt in the middle with the cherry syrup around and topped off with the almonds looked the nicest and I was able to control the syrup to yogurt ratio in each bite I took. Delish!