I think in the first 17 years of my life, I probably consumed roughly 6,000 Quaker “Chewy” granola bars. I actually multiplied that out (and, by the way, I’m concerned I’m losing my third grade math skills). I just looked up the nutrition info and noticed they stated “sugar”, in it’s various forms, more times than I can count on one hand. These have sugar too (honey), don’t get me wrong. I guess it’s that the ease in which these come together, and granola bars in general, make “homemade” the obvious choice for me. Ever made homemade granola bars? A pretty forgiving template, you can sub for what you have on hand fairly easily. I love dried cherries, and of course chocolate, and I love all the different types of fats in this bar. Walnuts, chia seeds, and coconut oil all have a specific makeup that cover the bases in terms of health. We know that fat equals full, so these would work great for back to school mornings or in lunch boxes.
I’m using them as a “hold off” food for my husband. While I made him eggs the other day for lunch he had to hold himself over with like, five pieces of GF toast and butter. It’s nice to have something on hand to give you some cushion in which to cook. He’s the hangriest.
Chocolate Chia Cherry Granola Bars
Makes 15-18 bars (9×13 pan)
4 c. oats
1 c. walnuts, chopped
1/2 c. unsweetened coconut
1/2 c. chia seeds
1 c. dried cherries
3/4 c. dark chocolate chips
1/2 c. almond flour
2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 c. honey
1/3 c. coconut oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread oats on a rimmed baking sheet. If room (or on a second sheet), spread walnuts and coconut. Bake for 12 -15 minutes or until toasted.
2. Meanwhile, combine chia seeds, cherries, chocolate, almond flour, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
3. In a small glass bowl, combine honey and coconut oil. Microwave to soften coconut oil, about 30 seconds, and whisk to combine.
4. Add vanilla and almond extracts to honey/oil mixture and whisk to combine.
5. When oats/nuts/coconut are toasted, add to bowl with chocolate and chia seeds. Stir to combine. Add honey mixture to bowl and stir until evenly coated.
6. Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper. Pour mixture into prepared pan and press evenly.
7. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden. Let cool completely at room temperature, then cut into bars. Store in fridge.