Chocolate Cherry Granola Bars

Granola bars
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Most homemade granola bars are packed with dried fruit and nuts, which is all well and good unless you are allergic (like me). Not only is this recipe for granola bars nut free but it’s dairy-free and gluten-free as well! If you aren’t allergic to nuts, you can certainly customize this recipe and sub in any type of nut butter for the sunflower seed butter (I’m sure almond butter would be phenomenal.) I love the combination of dark chocolate and dried cherries, but you can absolutely use any kind of dried fruit you have on hand.

These bars are a great way to start your day! They’ll give you lots of energy in a little package – one recipe makes 16 bars. They’ll keep for a week in an airtight container or you can freeze them, individually wrapped, so you can enjoy them whenever you need a little boost. The original recipe said it takes about an hour for one to thaw, which is pretty quick.

I love how quickly these come together, too – you can easily make a few batches to stock up your freezer. Homemade beats out store bought every time, and these granola bars are no exception.

Chocolate Cherry Granola Bars

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups rolled oats
  • Additional ¼ cup rolled oats, finely ground
  • ¾ cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • ½ teaspoon fleur de sel sea salt (or any fine sea salt)
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped dried cherries
  • 1 cup chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips (I found dark chocolate chips so no chopping was necessary!)
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup sunflower seed butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • ¼ cup maple syrup or honey

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Line an 8” x 8” baking pan with two sheets of parchment paper that crisscross and extend up all the sides. This will make it easy to remove the bars when they’re done cooking.
  2. Stir together the rolled oats, ground oats, coconut, quinoa, sea salt, cinnamon, dried cherries and chocolate in a large bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, heat the coconut oil until liquefied then whisk together with the sunflower seed butter, vanilla bean paste and sweetener of your choice. Pour this into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until everything is combined.
  4. Transfer to the baking pan and spread flat with the spoon. Tear off another piece of parchment paper and use this to press the bars into the pan as tightly as you can, making sure you get into all four corners.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges are light brown and the tops are golden. Let cool completely before cutting – I stored mine in the refrigerator covered in plastic wrap overnight. Once they’re cool, lift the bars out using the parchment paper and use a sharp serrated knife to cut the granola bars into squares (I cut mine into 16 pieces).

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