Sautéed Apricots with Vanilla Almond Granola

I love that the produce section is becoming more and more filled with lovely stone fruit and berries. Every year around this time I get excited about their appearance and I buy lots of it; nectarines, plums, cherries and apricots. And every year I’m reminded why I should probably wait until a bit later in the season to buy it. Early stone fruit is good, but it isn’t as tasty as it can be. Because of this, I usually have to figure out ways to coax as much flavor out of it as possible. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since I end up creating recipes like this one: Sautéed Apricots with Vanilla Almond Granola.
This is an easy, summery dish that is the perfect ending to any meal. All you need is a few apricots, some granola, and a little sweetened condensed milk or cream to pour over top. Even better, the granola is easy to make ahead and store, meaning this dessert can be pulled together in a snap!

Sautéed Apricots with Vanilla Almond Granola
6 Apricots, halved and pitted
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Raw Sugar
1 Tablespoon Bourbon or Rum
Vanilla Almond Granola (recipe follows)
Sweetened Condensed Milk, for serving

Place butter, sugar, and bourbon or rum in a small saucepan. Melt over medium heat, then add apricot halves, cut sides up. Simmer over medium low heat about three minutes, then carefully flip over. Let simmer until softened and the butter and sugar mixture is syrupy, about 5 minutes. 
Place 3 halves in a small bowl. Top with granola and drizzle with sweetened condensed milk. Serve warm. This also works very well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Just top the ice cream with the softened fruit and crunchy granola for an extra special dessert. Enjoy! 

Vanilla Almond Granola
1/3 cup Brown Sugar (packed)
1/4 cup Vegetable or Canola Oil
1/4. cup Honey (use local, if you can)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
Pinch ground Nutmeg
2 cups Oats (use old fashioned)
1/2 cup chopped Almonds
1/4 cup chopped dried Apricots (optional)
Heat oven to 325 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil, honey, vanilla extract, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Stir until combined.  Don’t worry if the oil separates, that is normal.  Stir in oats until well combined.
Prepare a large baking sheet by lining with parchment paper and spraying with a little cooking spray to prevent sticking. Spread out the oat mixture using a silicone spatula.  Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven.  Sprinkle the chopped almonds over the granola and stir to combine.  Return to oven for 5 minutes. Stir once then bake for 10 more minutes.
Remove from oven and stir.  Return to oven and bake for 5-10 minutes longer, keeping an eye on the color and aroma of the granola.  It should be golden and smell toasty.  This can happen rather quickly.  Remove from oven and set on wire racks to cool.  Don’t worry if the granola doesn’t seem crisp.  As it cools, it will become crisp and crunchy. If using the dried apricots, stir in after the granola has cooled.  Store in an airtight container for up to one month.

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