There’s something about cherry and vanilla that go so well together. When I was younger, one of my favourite drinks was Dr. Pepper. That sweet cherry-vanilla flavour was pure happiness to me. Years later, although soft drinks are no longer part of my diet, the love for cherry vanilla still remains. My beau and I visited the Jean Talon Market this pas weekend to stock up on some veggies and we came across a stand of fresh cherries that were just too good to pass up. Although I keep cherries stocked in my freezer on a regular basis, during peak season there’s nothing like the real thing. So with a fridge full of cherries, I began searching for the perfect way to use them. I came across classic recipes like cherry pie, cherries turnovers, cherry bars and cherry crumbles, but I was looking for something different. That’s when it happened, I found a delicious-looking recipe for cherry sauce. After studying a few variations, I came up with my own combining the ingredients I love and omitting those I don’t. The results are absolutely delicious. Here I topped a bowl of steel-cut oats, but this sauce would be just as yummy over Greek yogurt, swirled into cottage cheese or drizzled over vanilla ice cream.
Cherry Vanilla Oatmeal
For the cherry vanilla sauce:
2 cups fresh cherries, pitted*
2 tbsp vanilla agave*
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
1 – 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
For the oatmeal:
2 cups steel-cut oats
6 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
Cacao nibs, almond butter, unsweetened coconut, or any other toppings (optional)
1. Set a small saucepan over medium heat and add the cherries, vanilla agave, vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of water. In a small bowl, combine the remaining water and cornstarch, then add to the cherry mixture. Mix well.
2. Increase the heat to bring the cherry sauce to a boil, mix well, then lower heat and allow the sauce to thicken, about 5 minutes or so.
3. In the meantime, in a medium saucepan combine the steel-cut oats, water and salt. Bring to a boil, the lower heat and allow to simmer 10-20 minutes, depending how crunchy or soft you like your oats.
4. Serve oatmeal in a bowl and top with cherry sauce and other toppings of your choice. I love to add cacao nibs, a small spoonful of almond butter and a sprinkle of coconut.
*A few things to note: This recipe can also be made using frozen cherries. To do this, just use them straight out of the freezer.
*I found vanilla agave at David’s Tea, but feel free to use regular agave or another natural sweetener of your choice.