Almond Cherry Chewy Bars
Making your own energy bars is simple and easy (and not nearly as difficult as it may seem) with the benefits (flavor, taste, freshness) greatly outweighing the convenience of buying them. All you need is a food processor, parchment paper, a pan (a 7 x 10 rectangle or 8 x 8 square or 9 x 9 square) and fresh wholesome ingredients that include nuts, seeds, fresh fruit, dried fruit, and a few other special ingredients from your pantry.
Rich, chewy, and delicious, Almond Cherry Chewy Bars take less than 15 minutes to make from start to finish. Allow the mixed ingredients in the pan to chill for an hour before slicing and enjoying. The hardest part is waiting.
This recipe is an adaptation from a recipe called Cherry Coconut Crunch Bars in The Vegan Cookbook by Adele McConnell. The version below eliminates the sugar and water, uses ground chia seeds instead of whole chia seeds, and adds a touch of maple syrup and pure vanilla extract. The bars are sweet enough with the fresh and dried fruit that no added sugar is necessary. The small amount of maple syrup and vanilla extract give a richer flavor to the bars that primarily rely on nuts and fruit for the robust flavor. Chewy and slightly crunchy, these bars are vegan, gluten-free, and delicious. And, did I say addicting?
Almond Cherry Chewy Bars
- 2-1/2 cups raw whole almonds (unsalted)
- 1/3 cup ground chia seeds
- 1/2 cup of fresh cherries – about 20 (pitted), firmly packed
- 1/4 cup dried cherries (I use Eden organic dried cherries)
- 1/2 cup dried pitted medjool dates, chopped and firmly packed
- 1/4 cup cocoa nibs
- 1/4 cup toasted shredded coconut (to toast, place shredded coconut on a cookie sheet in a 200 degree oven for about 5-8 minutes)
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Line a 7 x 10, 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 baking pan with parchment paper, allowing the sides to come slightly above the pan.
Place the almonds into a food processor and pulse about 20 times until the almonds are chopped into small pieces (don’t pulverize).
Add the ground chia seeds, fresh cherries, dried cherries, dates, cocoa nibs, and toasted coconut. Pulse these ingredients about 10 times just until mixed.
In a tiny bowl, blend the coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Drizzle over the ingredients in the food processor and then pulse 4-5 times.
Wrap in plastic and store in the refrigerator for an hour or more.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week (they won’t last that long!).