But there is one "flavor" that I remember loving more than any other. I can't recall the brand or much about the packaging, but I do know it was called Cherry Almond, and it tasted divine.
There are certain flavor pairings that were just meant to be...cinnamon and chocolate, peanut butter and jelly, strawberries and cream...and I would like to add cherries and almonds to that mouthwatering list. The tart, juicy sweetness of a cherry is balanced perfectly by the creamy taste and crunchy texture of a blanched almond. And visually, the brown and white almond makes a perfect backdrop for the darkly hued red cherry. I would love to sit down at a table with a bowl of fresh cherries and a bowl of slightly toasted almonds...snack heaven.
Needless to say, I wanted to combine these two favorites in a bread recipe. I made a sweet wheat roll, added dried cherries and chopped almonds, and let my oven do its magic. Click on the link below the picture to read more...
My younger sister came over around nine, and she picked up a half dozen rolls to take home to her fiance, who is madly studying for the MCATS (Good luck Brandon).
And of course, Ryan and I sat down to share a couple of rolls and a warm cup of tea. Just as I had envisioned, these rolls highlighted the pairing of cherries and almonds. Each bite contained crunchy bits of almonds and that just right tartness of a dried cherry. The roll itself was soft, subtle and sweet, a perfect backdrop to the nuts and fruit.
I rolled these into a snail shape, which I would probably alter the next time I made the recipe. Due to the addition of the nuts and fruit, the dough is a bit "chunkier" than a simple wheat roll, so it didn't hold its shape as well as I would have liked. But they still look beautiful, albeit a little rustic, and of course, they tasted great.
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil (melted butter would be great too)
1 egg (lightly beaten)
1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
2 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp Instant Yeast
A dash of cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup dried and sweetened cherries
1. In a large bowl, combine your yeast and warm water. If using Active Dry Yeast instead of Instant, add 1 TBSP of honey and allow to sit for 10 minutes, or until yeast becomes creamy.
2. Add in flour, salt and cinnamon. Mix together the oil, honey and lightly beaten egg in a small bowl, and add to the flour mixture. Using the paddle attachment on your stand mixture, or a large spoon, stir ingredients until a shaggy dough forms.
3. Using your dough hook, or turning dough out into a lightly floured surface, begin to knead your dough. After one minute, add in your nuts and dried fruit. If you are using a stand mixer, you may have to use your hands in order to incorporate the cherries and almonds. Knead your dough for 6-10 minutes. Your dough should come together into a slightly tacky, but not sticky smooth ball.
4. Grease a bowl to hold your dough and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm place. (I usually use my oven...I turn it to the lowest setting while kneading, shut it off, and then let me dough sit in the slightly warm oven). Allow to rise until doubled in size, about one hour.
5. Remove dough from bowl and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Roll into a rectangle and divide into twelve equal pieces. At this point, you can shape your dough into a variety of rolls. I cut my dough into twelve equal strips and rolled them up into a snail shape. Cover your rolls with a damp towel and allow to rise until almost double in size (30-40 minutes).
6. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until just golden brown. Allow to cool on a wired rack, if you can resist!