Yep, these chocolate cherry oat bars taste as amazing as they look… soft bars filled with tart cherries and wholesome oats. Covered in a dark chocolate glaze. My friends, I’m happy to bring this recipe to you from my own brain! I created it a couple of years ago after my blender recipe for peanut butter brownies were not a favorite among my peanut allergy friends. So, I adapted the recipe with dried cherries and water for the peanut butter, a dark chocolate ganache on top and a more conventional way to prepare them using a regular mixer. The recipe still serves a hungry crowd of up to 36 people. I’ve brought them to church functions, potlucks and even frozen half the pan for quick afternoon snacks. If you love chocolate and cherries, you will find these simply irresistible 🙂
Come on in to my kitchen!
This may look like a lot of ingredients, but you probably already have most of them! The exceptions being a 3 oz. bag of dried cherries (can’t leave out the star!) a can of coconut milk and a jar of brown rice syrup, which I’ll explain in a minute.
The flour used in these oat bars can really be any flour that you prefer. I like to use white whole wheat. It bakes up just like white flour, but has the benefits of whole grain. You will also need a traditional size jelly roll pan (12.5 x 17.5 x 1)
Now, in regards to the brown rice syrup, I always keep some in my cupboard for my homemade granola bars, but if you’d prefer to use up your corn syrup or honey, that will work just fine! We will use the syrup in a simple 3 ingredient dark chocolate ganache, which is a fancy smancy word for “thick glaze” 🙂
The first step is to finely chop the 3 oz. bag of dried cherries using a sharp knife. Set them aside and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Next, in your mixer, cream together 2 sticks of softened butter, 1 cup of packed dark brown sugar and 3/4 cup of granulated sugar.
When your mixture is creamed, beat in 2 eggs, one at a time, using medium speed. Mix in 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
Here comes the unusual part! Put in your cherries and then add 1/4 cup of cold water. Mix all on low speed and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Another option here would be to actually soak the dried fruit in the water before adding to the batter.
While you are waiting for the batter, combine 2 cups rolled oats, 2 cups white whole wheat (or other) flour, 1 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt in a bowl. When ready, gently add this dry bowl slowly to the batter while the mixer is on low speed. When it’s all together, mix it up on medium high speed for about 30 seconds before turning it off.
Spread the batter evenly on a greased jelly roll pan. The batter will appear to be rather wet, but that makes for a moist bar!
Bake the oat bars for 20 minutes or just until the edges begin to lightly brown. Take them out and let them cool while you make the ganache.
In a small saucepan on low heat, melt 2 cups of dark chocolate chips with 3/4 cup coconut milk. I like to shake my can of milk to remove the natural separation of the cream. You will have approximately 3/4 cup remaining. I put it in an airtight container in the fridge for my next batch of ganache or for another recipe. Mango stir-fry, anyone?
When the milk and chocolate have melded together into sweet dark bliss, remove the pan from heat and add 1 tablespoon of brown rice syrup and 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract. Pour the glaze over the entire pan of oat bars, trying not to stick your head underneath that drizzle!!
Allow the oat bars and ganache top to cool before slicing. No need for decoration or garnish when you serve them up. The flavor of these chocolate cherry oat bars, their moist texture and wholesome goodness will speak for themselves. Delicious!
- 3 oz. dried cherries
- 1 cup soft butter
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 tsp. pure vanilla extract, divided
- ¼ cool water
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 cups dark chocolate chips
- ¾ cup coconut milk
- 1 T. brown rice syrup
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Finely chop 3 oz. of dried cherries.
- Using a mixer, cream together 1 cup of softened butter, 1 cup of packed dark brown sugar and ¾ cup of granulated sugar.
- Beat in 2 eggs, one at a time, using medium speed. Then mix in 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
- Add in your cherries and ¼ cup of cold water. Mix all on low speed and allow the batter to sit for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine 2 cups rolled oats, 2 cups white whole wheat (or other) flour, 1 tsp. baking powder and ½ tsp. salt in a bowl. When ready, gently add this dry bowl slowly to the batter while the mixer is on low speed. Then, mix on medium high speed for 30 seconds.
- Spread the batter evenly on a greased jelly roll pan.
- Bake the bars for 20 minutes or just until the edges begin to lightly brown.
- To make ganache, melt 2 cups of dark chocolate chips with ¾ cup coconut milk in a small saucepan on low heat.
- When melted, remove the pan from heat and add 1 tablespoon of brown rice syrup and 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract.
- Pour the glaze over the entire pan of bars.
- Allow the bars to cool before slicing.