The annual Cranberry Festival in Warrens has come and gone, with cranberry fests in Eagle River and Stone Lake coming up this weekend. All of which means the tangy red fruit –Wisconsin’s official state fruit by the way - will soon be hitting grocery stores for all those favorite cold-weather recipes and holiday treats. Stewart Inn in Wausau shared with us this recipe for Irish Oats that just begs for a lazy morning, a bottomless cup of strong coffee and good conversation. Irish Oats with Fruit & Cranberry Syrup [caption id="attachment_842" align="alignright" width="300"] Cozy sitting room at the Stewart Inn, Wausau[/caption] 1 cup water 1 cup milk or soy milk 1 Tbsp brown sugar or 1 package Splenda ¼ tsp cinnamon ⅛ tsp salt ¾ cup steel cut oats 1 can frozen cranberry juice concentrate Fruit Topping ¾ cup water ⅛ tsp salt ¼ tsp cinnamon 2 each dried apricots, prunes, and dates, chopped ¼ cup Craisins ¼ Granny Smith apple, peeled, and chopped pecans and blueberries ½ banana, chopped 2 Tbsp cream or soy milk Plan ahead, this dish needs to refrigerate overnight. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the first five ingredients and bring to a boil. Stir in the oats, reduce heat, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until thick, about 15 minutes. Pour into a bread pan sprayed with cooking spray. Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate overnight. Thaw the cranberry juice overnight. The following morning: Pour the juice into a saucepan and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until juice has reduced by half and thickened. When it begins to foam, it is almost done. Set aside and it will thicken more as it cools. To prepare the fruit topping, bring the first three ingredients to a boil. Add the dried fruits, apples, and pecans to the mixture and heat 3-5 minutes, stirring gently. Add the remaining ingredients and stir just to mix. Cook one minute and set aside. Cut the chilled oats into 4 triangles. Melt 2 tablespoons butter on a nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Add oat triangles and cook 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and heated through. Put 1 triangle on a warm plate and top with ¼ cup warm fruit. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of the cranberry syrup. Yield: 4 servings.