Do you love chewy Quaker granola bars? If so, you will love this sweet and chewy recipe to make your own DIY cherry, almond and cacao nib granola bars! It's the perfect way to make those summer cherries last through the fall and winter months… and healthier.
Eating granola may help lower your cholesterol and prevent certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. It's a type of breakfast cereal consisting of whole grain oats, nuts and dried fruits. The oats are commonly toasted with a small amount of oil and sweetener, giving the cereal a crunchy texture. Whole grain oats and nuts, two main ingredients in most granola, contain dietary fiber. From just 1/3 cup of granola, you'll get about 4 grams of fiber. Although it's indigestible by your body, fiber helps to regulate digestion and prevent constipation. It may also help control your blood sugar and promote a feeling of fullness after eating, allowing you to cut calories with less hunger. Soluble fiber found in oats is particularly helpful for lowering bad cholesterol levels. The soluble fiber binds to bile acids, which contain cholesterol, in your digestive tract and removes them from your body. Cacao nibs are chocolate in their purest form and have so many health benefits, they are one of the highest sources of antioxidants you can find and they are also great sources of flavonoids, fiber, magnesium and potassium.
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 2/3 cups toasted buckwheat* OR brown rice krispies
- 3/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup ground flax meal (optional)
- 1/2 cup cacao nibs or mini chocolate chips
- 1/2-1 cup dried cherries (my recipe for homemade dried cherries is below)
- 3/4 cup honey (may use brown rice syrup if vegan)
- 1 cup creamy almond butter
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- Dried Cherries
- 4 cups fresh cherries, pitted
Granola Bar Directions
- Line a 9x13 inch baking dish with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine the oatmeal, buckwheat OR puffed brown rice cereal, sliced almonds, flax meal, cocoa nibs (or mini chocolate chips) and dried cherries.
- In a small sauce pan, add the almond butter and honey. Set the pot over medium heat, stirring often until melted and smooth. Once the mixture starts to bubble, remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla + salt.
- Pour the almond butter mixture over the oats and stir until combined.
- Press into the prepared the pan.
- Cover the bars and place in the fridge for at least one hour or until set.
- Cut into the bars and store in a cool, dark place or in the fridge. The bars will last at least 2 weeks.
Dried Cherries Directions
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread the cherries in an even layer over the parchment paper.
- Place in the oven and cook for 4-6 hours or until the cherries are dried. This may take more or less time depending on where you live. Start checking on them around 3-4 hours.
- Store in a sealed container.