Having grown up in Pennsylvania, Groundhog's Day holds a special place in my heart. In fact, during many of my formative years I was only a stone's throw away from Punxsutawney, which wasn't great during KKK meetings, but was fun whenever Punxsutawney Phil was the reason for gathering.
Growing up in California, my children do not have the same appreciation for the day. They know not the seemingly endless days of winter, when you become a prisoner of your own home. They do not hold out hope for the arrival of spring and return of outside activities. They don't even realize that swimming is not a year round activity most places.
So I do what I can to bring the magic to them. Most years we watch Phil's prognostication on YouTube. But this is my year of planning in advance. So I recorded the entire event coverage on the weather channel. All 5 hours.
A little bit of fast forwarding, and my children were right there in Punxsutawney, eagerly awaiting the arrival of Phil.
Of course, a special day calls for a special breakfast. Groundhog pancakes for all!
And to really get in the spirit, I let them have hot chocolate. But you'd never know to look at them.
And of course, prep work is even easier when you go to the supermarket and find bags of cherries everywhere. And they are so good! Sometimes I forget how early cherry season starts, but I'm not missing out on any. A bag barely lasts a day in this house, shorter when you're using them in baked goods.
But cherry, paired with almond, gives you this deep, rich, red dessert that's perfect for an upcoming holiday. Serve it warm, because I hear we've got 6 more weeks of winter left to go.
Cherry Almond Crisp (from Cooking Light)
1 cup dried tart cherries
2 lbs cherries, pitted
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup + 3 Tbsp flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 tsp salt
5 Tbsp butter, melted
1/4 tsp almond extract
- Place dried cherries in a bowl with 1 cup of boiling water. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375. Combine dried cherries, soaking liquid, pitted cherries, sugar, 3 Tbsp flour, vanilla, and and cinnamon in a large bowl and mix well. Let sit for 15 minutes.
- Coat a 13x9 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Pour in cherry mixture and bake for 40 minutes.
- While it's baking, combine 3/4 cup flour with oats, brown sugar, almonds, and salt in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine melted butter and almond extract.
- Drizzle butter mixture over flour mixture, stirring until clumps form.
- Remove cherry mixture from the oven and sprinkle with the topping. Bake an additional 20 minutes.