Homemade granola bars are one of the easiest make-ahead snacks that everyone loves! For back-to-school, work or a quick breakfast they’re filled with wholesome ingredients that are satiating and delicious!
For me store bought granola bars are typically way too sweet. But there’s a reason why so much sugar is added to them. The honey/corn syrup usually used helps to keep the bars to stick together and not crumble. But I have found two ways to use less sugar while still having a bar that isn’t so soft that it crumbles. The first thing is to make sure that the nuts and oats are finely chopped so that the mixture can be firmly and tightly packed into the pan. And the second thing is to add runny almond to the wet ingredients. It helps to coat the dry ingredients and bind them together.
Once your rolled oats and nuts are finely chopped, mix in the rest of the dry ingredients. Stir in the wet ingredients to completely combine. The mixture should be moist and slightly sticky. Press the mixture evenly and firmly into the baking pan and it’s ready to be baked!
In addition to making awesome granola bars, the mixture can be spread onto a baking sheet, baked for 20 minutes and eaten as granola. Just make sure to add the dried fruit after it’s been baked and don’t forget to toss in some chocolate chips too! It makes a delicious and filling breakfast cereal or yogurt topping.
Why You Will Love These Granola Bars
✓ Chewy texture
✓ Healthier and less sweet than store bought
✓ Kid friendly
✓ Incredibly easy to make
✓ Adaptable to the ingredients you have on hand
✓ Can be made as bars or regular granola
✓ Completely gluten free and vegan
Looking For More Fall Snacks?
I hope that these easy and healthy Chocolate Cherry Granola Bars become a fall snacking staple in your home and happy eating always!
Chocolate Cherry Granola Bars
- 1 cup gluten free oats (not quick cooking)
- 1 cup almonds
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 cup dried cherries
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons cacao nibs (or chocolate chips)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 5 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 2 tablespons runny almond butter*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 bar (100 grams) dark chocolate, about 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8"x 8" baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place the oats, almonds and walnuts into a food processor and pulse until they're roughly chopped. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and cacao nibs.
- Finely chop the dried cherries and add to the large mixing bowl. Stir until all of the ingredients are combined.
- In a small pot heat the coconut oil on low until melted (if your coconut oil is already liquid skip this step.) Add the maple syrup, almond butter, vanilla and pinch of sea salt. Stir until combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir well. Pour the mixture into the lined baking pan. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the mixture and firmly press with your hands. Make sure the mixture is packed down quite well and is even. The firmer it is packed the less likely the bars will crumble when baked.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until it is a light golden brown around the edges. Let cool to room temperature then transfer to the fridge keeping them in the pan. Let them sit in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours to completely cool. If you try to cut them before they're cool they tend to crumble. Once cooled, remove from the fridge and a cut into 12 bars.
- Next melt the chocolate for the topping. Place the chocolate into a medium sized bowl and place on top of a small pot fill with 2 inches of water (double broiler method). The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Place on the stove and heat on low. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted, about 5-8 minutes.
- Drizzle the chocolate on top of the bars using either a spoon or placing it into a ziplock bag and cutting a very small hole of the tip of one corner. You can also leave the bars in the pan and pour a thin layer of chocolate to cover the entire top, let cool and then cut into bars.
- Once the chocolate has set store the bars in a sealed container in the fridge or individually wrap each one. They will last up to one week in the fridge and can be frozen for up to 3 months. Enjoy!