Grain-free healthy goodness!
Today is the return of snack bars. If you’re just joining us, hi! Welcome. My snack bar recipe collection consists of vanilla almond and cashew coconut. And today? Choc-ooooo-late. I decided it was high time to introduce a new flavor to our beloved snack bar obsession.
So what are these magical snack bars?! Glad you asked. Snack bars are my version of KIND bars. A little homemade copycat made from real, whole ingredients. I don’t know about you, but I used to live off of store-bought granola bars and those apple cinnamon nutri-grain bars. It wasn’t until I began to actually read and care about the ingredient list that I stopped buying them completely. Why the need for 40 different sketchy sounding “foods” to make up a simple snack bar?! Why did I like the apple cinnamon flavor over the more popular strawberry?
Things that remain a mystery.
Simple and wholesome, these gluten free bars are made with nuts and dried fruit– and not much else. One ingredient you may not recognize? Almond meal. It’s used in these bars to bind the ingredients together. For anyone not familiar with almond meal, don’t get nervous. Almond meal is just ground almonds– ground almonds before reaching the stage of almond butter. You can buy almond meal, but I find it’s much more convenient (and cheap!) to make it at home. Simply pulse almonds until they reach a gritty and rough flour-like consistency. (Pictured in this post.)
Also making up these chocolate cherry almond snack bars are roughly chopped almonds for crunch– they make up a bulk of the bars. Dried cherries and vanilla extract add flavor, while chocolate chips are necessary for both your stomach and sanity. Tip: use mini chocolate chips so there are more in each bar. #win
For a little sweetness and binding, use honey. Like I’ve mentioned in my previous snack bar recipes, I do not recommend thinner liquid sweeteners like maple syrup or agave. Rather, you want a thick liquid sweetener. Brown rice syrup works too. You don’t need much, only 1/3 cup for the entire batch of bars.
I like to wrap each bar up individually and grab them as I bounce around from the store to the gym to the computer to the kitchen and back again. Some favorite things about them: chewy, crunchy, nutty, sweet, food you recognize, grain-free, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate.Print
Chewy, crunchy, satisfying chocolate cherry almond bars made with real, wholesome ingredients. Grain-free healthy goodness!
- 1/3 cup (114g) honey or brown rice syrup*
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup (40g) almond meal*
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon (15g) almond butter
- 2 cups (280g) whole almonds, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup (60g) dried cherries, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup (58g) mini chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 300°F (149°C). Line an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper with enough overhang on the sides to easily remove the bars from the pan. Set aside.
- Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, mix the honey, vanilla, almond meal, salt, and almond butter together until combined. Fold in the almonds, cherries, and chocolate chips until combined.
- Transfer mixture to prepared baking pan and press very firmly into an even layer. You really want it packed in tight- as tight as possible. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack for 1 hour, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 1 more hour. This helps firm up the bars which makes them stay compact. Remove bars from the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. Individually wrap each bar in plastic wrap or parchment. Store at room temperature for 1 week or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. I find they get a little sticky at room temperature over a few days, so I prefer the refrigerator.
- Freezing Instructions: These bars are freezer friendly. After wrapping individually, freeze for up to 3 months and thaw before enjoying.
- Sweetener: I do not suggest a thinner sweetener like maple syrup or agave– honey or brown rice syrup is perfect.
- Almond Meal: You can use store-bought almond meal or almond flour, or you can make your own. Start with 1/4 cup of slivered, sliced, or whole almonds. Pulse them in a food processor until a crumbly meal has formed. Do not run the food processor continuously; you may end up with almond butter. Little pulses are best. You will end up with around 1/4 cup almond meal.
- Special Tools: Glass Mixing Bowls, Cuisinart Food Processor, Ninja Master Prep, Mariani Pitted Dates, Square Glass Baking Dish
Keywords: chocolate cherry almond snack bars, copycat kind bars