Bake These: Chocolate-Chia-Cherry Granola Bars

Chocolate-Chia-Cherry Granola Bars | Photo by Becca Boyd

Chocolate-Chia-Cherry Granola Bars | Photo by Becca Boyd

Ah, bars. They call to me. Last week I had a protein bar and a bowl of ice cream for dinner. I’d been cooking all day and didn’t think making a meal for myself was worth the effort. This is sad. Take it from someone who knows: If you find yourself relying too heavily on what should be a last resort snack, it’s time to get back in the kitchen — you’re worth it (I’m pointing my finger at myself).

You know by now that homemade is always better (planet, wallet, you get it), and big-batch is a time-saver as well. These Chocolate-Cherry-Chia Granola Bars are brimming with satiating components: walnuts, chia seeds, and coconut oil check all the boxes in the “fat equals full” category, and these bars work equally well for breakfast, a pre or post-workout bite, an afternoon snack, or dessert. Add making these to your to-do list on Sunday afternoon and your week will be better for it — trust me.

Recap: Chocolate-Chia-Cherry Granola Bars
Makes 15-18 bars in a 9×13 pan.

4 c. oats
1 c. walnuts, chopped
1/2 c. unsweetened coconut
1/2 c. chia seeds
1 c. dried cherries
3/4 c. dark chocolate chips
1/2 c. almond flour
2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 c. honey
1/3 c. coconut oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread oats on a rimmed baking sheet. If room (or on a second sheet), spread walnuts and coconut. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until toasted.
2. Meanwhile, combine chia seeds, cherries, chocolate chips, almond flour, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
3. In a small glass bowl, combine honey and coconut oil. Microwave to soften coconut oil, about 30 seconds, and whisk to combine.
4. Add vanilla and almond extracts to honey/oil mixture and whisk to combine.
5. When oats/nuts/coconut are toasted, add to bowl with chocolate and chia seeds. Stir to combine. Add honey mixture to bowl and stir until evenly coated.
6. Line a 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper. Pour mixture into prepared pan and press evenly.
7. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is golden. Let cool completely at room temperature, then cut into bars. Store in fridge.

Per serving: 318 calories, 16.3 grams fat, 6.2 grams saturated fat, 84.6 milligrams potassium, 43.4 grams carbs, 6 grams dietary fiber, 25 grams sugar, 5.5 grams protein.

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