An ideal snack or breakfast on-the-go, these chewy granola bars are filled with tart cherries, dark chocolate chips and protein-packed walnuts.
As though I needed one more, reason #9497214758 that I love living in Michigan is because we are the Cherry Capital of the World. In fact, I have been picking and consuming tart cherries my whole life. As a result, I was delighted when the Cherry Marketing Institute asked me to develop a cherry recipe.
With a name like The Lemon Bowl, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that I love sour flavors. Tart cherries have the perfect sweet-tart flavor that pops in a variety of recipes.
Fun Fact: The same phytonutrients that give them their unique tart taste and ruby red color have been linked to a variety of health benefits – like reducing inflammation and improving muscle recovery after exercise.
Even though my boys won’t be heading to the bus stop any time soon, I always find myself getting in the back to school spirit this time of year. I am a huge fan of any season that encourages and inspires people to get in their kitchen to create nutritious and delicious foods to fuel their families through these busy months.
Homemade granola bars are not only easy to make but by making them at home you can control the quality of ingredients. Antioxidant-rich tart cherries and dark chocolate combined with whole grain oats give these granola bars a major nutritional bang for their buck. Walnuts also add protein and heart-healthy fats to give your little ones long lasting energy, without the sugar crash.
I like to wrap the bars individually in plastic wrap to throw in my gym bag or so my husband can grab one on his way to work in the morning. When stored this way in the refrigerator they will last up to 10 days.
Although I’m here to warn you, they won’t last that long.
No forks required.
Dark Chocolate Cherry Granola Bars
- 1 cup dried tart cherries
- 2 cups oats (old fashioned or quick-cooking)
- 1 cup walnuts
- ¼ cup flax seed meal
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- ⅔ cup honey
- ¼ cup dark cocoa powder (regular works too)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli baking chips)
- optional: extra dried tart cherries and dark chocolate chips – for sprinkling on top before baking
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray.
- In a food processor, pulse together dried tart cherries, oats, walnuts, flax seed meal and salt until finely chopped, roughly the consistency of sand.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, honey, cocoa powder and vanilla until smooth. Add the oats mixture to the bowl and stir until evenly coated with the chocolate honey mixture.
- Add dark chocolate chips to the bowl and stir again. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and spread out in an even layer.
- Sprinkle additional tart cherries and chocolate chips on top before baking 20-25 minutes.
- Let bars cool completely before slicing.
Wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.