Cherry Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Simple, delicious SOFT cherry chocolate chip granola bars made without any weird ingredients. (Gluten free, vegan).
Written by:Emily of One Lovely Life
Can you feel it?
Summer is singing its siren song, and we’re all ready for it to get here! Summer days mean lots of great things–loads of fresh produce in the markets, pool days, parks, picnics, and barbecues. Summer also means school vacation, which translates to lots of time to fill with little ones at home. And, at least at my house, all that running around and all those days spent outside mean we’re hungrier than ever. Because of our family’s dietary restrictions, we don’t buy many packaged snacks, but we get cravings for some of our old favorites, and granola bars are at the top of the list.
We love these Cherry Chocolate Chip Granola Bars for a lot of reasons. For one thing, they’re gluten and dairy free, naturally sweetened (other than the allergy-free chocolate chips), and preservative-free. For another thing, they’re super portable, so they can tag along with us on whatever adventures we’re up to. They pack well in lunches, and my kids (and husband) just LOVE them.
I love recipes that are straight-forward and easily customized, and these fit the bill on both counts. If you’re more of a raisin person, swap out the cherries for raisins. Not into chocolate chips? No problem! Leave them out or substitute your favorite nuts (sliced almonds are delish).
The one ingredient you may not have heard of before is brown rice syrup, but it’s actually the key to these super-soft, chewy granola bars. Brown rice syrup is made from brown rice and water. That’s it. No funky additives, no big refining process. I love it. It’s surprisingly sweet and works really well in this recipe, holding everything together but keeping things from getting too crispy -crunchy. That said, if crispy-crunchy granola bars are more your style, you can pop these into a 300 degree oven for 10-15 minutes to dry them out a bit.
What are your favorite summer snacks?
- 1½ cups quick-cooking oats
- 1 cup crisp rice cereal (I like Erewhon Crisp Brown Rice)
- 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life brand)
- 1/4 cup dried cherries, finely minced
- 1/3 cup brown rice syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (or butter)
- 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp almond extract
- pinch salt
- In a small saucepan, melt together coconut oil, brown rice syrup, and maple syrup. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, almond, and salt. Let mixture cool slightly.
- While syrup mixture is cooking, stir together oats, rice cereal, and dried cherries. Pour syrup mixture over the dry ingredients and stir to combine. (The mixture may seem a bit wet–Don’t worry!) Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
- Line an 8×8″ baking dish with parchment paper.
- Pat granola mixture into the pan firmly. Allow to cool completely, 1-2 hours.
- The granola bars will set as they cool. To speed things up, you can pop them in the refrigerator.
- Slice and eat! Granola bars will keep covered for 4-5 days.
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Nutrition InformationYield 12 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 175 Total Fat 8g Saturated Fat 5g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 3g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 54mg Carbohydrates 25g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 2g Sugar 10g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 2g