Use Dried Cranberries To Give Cocoa Overnight Oats A Tangy Kick

Overnight oats merit a spot in your morning (evening?) routine. Saving you time, they offer all of the goodness of a bowl of oatmeal without much effort — or the need to start the stove. Even though there are dozens of ways to jazz up this medley of oats and milk, it can be hard to keep things interesting. However, since chocolate is rarely a bad idea, a sprinkle of cocoa powder is always a good go-to when upgrading overnight oats. But, why stop there? Stir in a few dried cranberries and now you've got a tart and tangy, chocolatey masterpiece on your hands.

Chocolate and cranberries are a match made in gustatory heaven. Drawing inspiration from this duo, infusing overnight oats with cocoa powder and dried cranberries just makes sense. Despite a shared earthiness between fruity cranberries and woodsy cocoa that makes them so complementary, it's really the ingredients' ability to balance each other that makes the pairing successful. Essentially, sweetly sour dried cranberries tame the intense bitterness of cocoa powder, and vice versa. The result is a decadent-tasting jarred breakfast with a vibrant finish and loads of complexity.

Beyond flavor, these dry ingredients offer textural benefits. Unlike chunks of dense chocolate or virtually impermeable fresh cranberries, cocoa powder and dried cranberries can be incorporated seamlessly into oats, which creates a better diffusion of flavors as well. Plus, these ingredients cost less and are shelf stable, making them easy to add to a recipe.

What to remember when working dried cranberries into overnight oats

When buying dried cranberries, or any dried fruit, be sure to consult the ingredients list. Added sugar or sulfites may be necessary to maintain quality, but it's still wise to look for options with fewer additives when possible. Additionally, it's a good rule of thumb to seek out berries protected in opaque packaging as this stops light from prematurely wreaking havoc on fruit. That said, since dried fruit has a relatively short six-month shelf life, it's best to buy in small quantities.

Although you can use sugar-free dried cranberries, these can be a tad too tart, which is why we suggest opting for a sweetened product when crafting cocoa-infused overnight oats. You can also opt for other tangy dried fruits like sour cherries, red currants, or apricots — even freeze-dried fruits like raspberries or strawberries work. Alternatively, for an even sweeter edge, dried blueberries or raisins make for a tasty substitute.

Prior to mixing any dried cranberries into your recipe, bear in mind that dried fruits absorb liquid. As a result, you might need to add more milk when mixing the ingredients together. Otherwise, you could soak the dried cranberries briefly in hot water before stirring them into oats to plump them up and prevent dryness. Regardless of which method you choose, a tablespoon or two of mouth-puckering cranberries is more than enough to complement the chocolatey base, and take overnight oats to the next level!