Dark Chocolate Covered Cherry Granola Bars
We’re in the midst of cherry season, which lasts as long as the blink of an eye it seems, and I’m taking full advantage. I’m hoarding them like nobody’s business at each organic vendor I can find at the farmer’s market every Sunday. It takes such a long time to pick the ones I want, dark, of course, so I stand there with all the other pickers just nit picking away with a competitive arrogance that I’m surprised to find at such a communal place. It’s not pretty. But people like their food the way they like it and will get it no matter what it takes.
I can’t complain too much since I did get a few bushels full of really gorgeous dark cherries. Way too much in fact to just pop them in my mouth like candy which is so much fun. I decided to bake up some granola bars with them inside and add some chocolate which adds a slight reminiscence of those dark chocolate covered cherries I used to eat.
So here is the recipe, which is very simple and delicious and has numerous life-enhancing benefits that you will enjoy immensely.
DARK CHOCOLATE COVERED CHERRY GRANOLA BARS
By Debbie Adler
1¾ cups gluten-free oats
⅓ cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
⅓ cup hemp seeds
¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds/roughly chopped
2 tablespoons cacao powder
1 tablespoon goji powder
⅜ teaspoon guar gum
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons coconut oil
6 tablespoons coconut nectar (I use Coconut Secret brand)
2 tablespoons cherries, pitted and roughly chopped
4 ounces sugar-free dark chocolate chips (I use Lily’s brand)
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8 x 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, with a little extra over the sides.
Mix together the oats, flour, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, cacao powder, guar gum and salt in a large bowl.
Microwave the coconut oil and coconut nectar in a measuring cup for 20 seconds and stir to combine. Pour the coconut oil mixture into the oat mixture. Fold in the cherries.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth it into the corners and on top with a wet baking spatula to cover the pan evenly.
Bake for 24 to 25 minutes, or until the oats are a light golden brown. Rotate the pan from front to back halfway through baking.
Remove the pan from the oven to a wire rack and let sit for about 15 minutes before putting in the freezer for at least 1 hour.
Transfer the parchment paper to a cutting board and cut into 16 bars.
For the topping, melt the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl, 30 seconds at a time until the chips are liquid. Drizzle the chocolate over the granule bars and set them on parchment paper. Put them in the freezer to firm up.
Wrap each bar individually in parchment paper or bakery tissue paper, place in seal-able plastic bag and keep frozen until ready to pack or eat.
Nutrition Information Per Serving (1 bar): 100 calories, 6 g total fat, 0.0 mg cholesterol, 19 g carbohydrates, 40 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein, 5 g sugars