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Growing up, I LOVED Quaker granola bars.

Chewy Cherry, Almond and Cacao Nib Granola Bars | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

You know, the chewy ones with the mini chocolate chips. They kind of felt like a sweet treat, but they were a marketed as a healthy granola bar. So mom packed them in lunches and yummm, I always loved them! She also packed things like fruit snacks, baby carrots, cream cheese bagels, turkey sandwiches, occasionally a KUDOS bars (do any of you remember them, I guess they are actually still around), plus the other usual lunch items, like water and fruit.

Honestly, I never ate a big lunch at school, it was always just uncomfortable for me. I’d pretty much only eat half of my turkey sandwich on whole grain bread and call it a day. I was a really odd kid, and school was always something I struggled greatly with. It’s funny though, looking back, I really don’t understand why I hated school so much. I had friends, I got decent grades (although I REALLY had to work hard for them) and compared to some of the real life issues I am dealing with now (yeah, I am talking about you taxes, bills, health insurance, really all things pertaining to money), school doesn’t seem so bad. But for whatever reason I totally struggled with school.

I would like to say that those Quaker chewy chocolate chip granola bars saved me back then, but really, I just liked eating them once I got home and could relax. Those and bags of baby carrots, but again, I was SO weird.

Ahh, wait, I still am totally weird.

Chewy Cherry, Almond and Cacao Nib Granola Bars | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvestChewy Cherry, Almond and Cacao Nib Granola Bars | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Anyway, the idea behind these bars, came from those chewy Quaker granola bars. Only I really wanted to incorporate some summer cherries. I also wanted to make them a bit healthier. Soo, I added dried cherries (that I made myself, but more on that later!) and instead of chocolate chips I used cacao nibs, which clearly I am just a little bit into right now. Plus, I really do not like the combo of cherries and chocolate (like I really don’t), so cherries and cacao nibs seemed like the right thing to do for my taste buds.

Cacao nibs are chocolate in their purest form, but it’s weird because to me, they really don’t taste like chocolate, chocolate. Does that make sense? They are not sweet in the least and really, I really just like the crunch they give. My favorite way to eat them is in granola with yogurt, I pretty much eat this combo daily. They 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.

BUT, if you’re not into the cacao nibs and you like cherries and chocolate, you can just sub mini chocolate chips for the cacao nibs.

Chewy Cherry, Almond and Cacao Nib Granola Bars | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvestChewy Cherry, Almond and Cacao Nib Granola Bars | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Oh, and about those cherries. I dried them myself?!? Isn’t that cool??

Ok, maybe not, but my grocery store does not carry dried cherries and I knew added fresh cherries would not work for these no bake bars. SO I thought I would just dry them out in the oven myself. You guys, it worked so perfectly, and you know, they are addicting! Sweet, chewy and the perfect way to make those summer cherries last through the fall and winter months…

Meaning you should probably go buy all the cherries you possibly can now, dry them out, and store them. Then you’ll have cherries for snacking at all times. Yes!

I really wanted to use puffed brown rice cereal, but unfortunately, I cannot find it anywhere up here. I used to be able to buy it at Target, but sadly they seem to no longer to carry it. Therefore, I ended up using toasted buckwheat and it worked out great! The bars turned out a little crunchier than what I was going for, but I still liked the texture a lot. You can use whichever you prefer though.

And yeah, that’s kind of it. Simple, healthy and delicious!!

Chewy Cherry, Almond and Cacao Nib Granola Bars | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvestChewy Cherry, Almond and Cacao Nib Granola Bars | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Thinking it’s snack time?!

Chewy Cherry, Almond and Cacao Nib Granola Bars | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvestChewy Cherry, Almond and Cacao Nib Granola Bars | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Chewy Cherry, Almond and Cacao Nib Granola Bars | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Chewy Cherry, Almond and Cacao Nib Granola Bars.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours 5 minutes
1 hour
Total Time 7 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 12 Bars
Calories Per Serving: 325 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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, coconut oil 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. I like to use the back of a 1/2 cup measuring cup, spray the flat bottom with a little cooking spray and then really press the mixture into the bottom of the pan using the bottom of the measuring cup. 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

  • 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.

Notes

*I used toasted buckwheat, which gives the bars a little crunch. When I can find them, I like to use puffed brown rice cereal, which gives the bars a bit of a lighter, chewier texture. **to toast the buckwheat, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the buckwheat in an even layer and toast for 10-15 minutes or until the buckwheat is lightly golden.

Chewy Cherry, Almond and Cacao Nib Granola Bars | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Yes. Totally snack time.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These are very delicious! Instead of buckwheat or brown rice, I used a mixture of puffed wild rice and puffed amaranth which I had in the cupboard, and it turned out great! The nibs are a great substitute for chocolate chips. They will be healthy dessert/snacks at lunch this week and an energy-boosting snack on bicycle rides. This recipe is a keeper.

    1. Hey Sarah,
      Thanks so much for making this recipe, I am so glad it was enjoyed! Have great week:) xTieghan

    1. Hi Melissa! Yes, this is correct. Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan ???

  2. These are delicious. Any tips on getting them to stay together? I’ve made them twice and for whatever reason their crumbly. Thanks in advance.

    1. Hey Melissa! I recommend freezing the bars and keeping them in the freeze until ready to eat. They thaw within minutes and hold much better this way! Please let me know if you have any other questions. so glad you love this recipe! Thank you! xTieghan

  3. I made these and gave them to friends. They were highly successful – everyone loved them. It’s a good base recipe, you can add any fruit you want, etc. I did use flax meal and brown rice krispies but subbed a natural peanut butter for almond. It worked out well. Thank you.

  4. These look amazing, and I would definitely not change one thing about them-for my own family that is. However, I work for a family that has severe nut allergies, and was wondering if certain substitutions would change the taste too much. First, omitting the almonds and maybe using toasted flaxseed or hempseed (I read both have a nuttier flavor). My question for you is, how do you think it would tase to use sunbutter or a soybutter of somekind? Would it change the flavor so dramatically it wouldn’t taste good, or do you think it would be fine?

    1. Hi Kristin! I think your subs will work out great. The taste will obviously be slightly different but still delicious! Let me know if you have any other questions. Hope you love these!

  5. I don’t have buckwheat where i live and i don’t like puffed rice cereal, can i omit these from the recipe and still make it work? Maybe adding a little more oats? Thanks!

    1. Hi Julia, I think if you just sub equal amounts of oats for the buckwheat that will work. Let me know how it goes and I hope you love these! 🙂

  6. I made these this past weekend and they were fabulous! Not as pretty as yours, but very tasty. I’m always excited to see what kind of recipe you will post for the day…especially now that Fall is around the corner :).

  7. I make my own granola bars all the time and never buy store bought anymore! They are so easy and healthy to make on your own, and I am adding this one to my rotation! Just an FYI that your ingredient list calls for 1/4 cup of coconut oil but it’s left out of the instructions so you may want to update those for people who are not familiar with the granola bar process! ?

  8. Perfect timing w/ school being back in, always looking for healthy snacks to pack. It’s funny, once you dehydrate things, you see how easy it is and can dry them at their peak ripeness.
    I’m having a hard time Not turning all my garden tomatoes into sundried tomatoes? One thing I never thought of drying~ hibiscus flowers, I thank you for that! I love to make that tea w/ hibiscus you posted

  9. Hi Tieghan! I have loved staring at all the yummy food on your blog for a while, and I’m finally going to stop just staring and make these bars! Maybe I missed this, but does the coconut oil just go in with the peanut butter and honey? Thanks!

  10. Hi! What if it make granola bars without peanut butter or almond creamy butter? Will they stay stick together or they’ll be crumble?

  11. OMG, Kudos bars! I totally forgot about those! Loved them and the Quaker bars, but I have to say, just the look of these homemade ones beats those out any day. Yummeh!

  12. I love these! We hear so much in the media about how sugary and bad processed muesli bars are (the NZ name for granola bars!), and I know that homemade ones are about 10000x better but have never gotten around to making them… all your healthy bar recipes are super inspiring though so hopefully will give it a go soon! Plus dehydrating your own cherries?! That is commitment right there.

  13. Once again you have posted the most timely and helpful recipe for me ! I finished the last of my homemade granola this morning and had a bag of cherries that were sadly languishing. Off to the dehydrator! Thanks

  14. I loved Quaker chocolate chip granola bars as a kid too! Unlike you though, I ate 24/7 😉 these look absolutely delicious! I love the chocolate and cherry combo!

  15. I’m definitely part of the Chewy Quaker nostalgia club. Though, your recipe sounds much more delicious to my adult tastebuds. This sure looks like a winner!
    xx Sydney

  16. These sound delicious, Tieghan! I used to love those Quaker granola bars as a kid too, but I was more partial to the S’mores flavour. The one with the tiny marshmallows and covered in a layer of bad chocolate? Yeah, I was the healthiest child, haha. Mini carrots always went over well too though. I love that you dried the cherries yourself – talk about dedication, girl!

  17. I also used to have chewy granola bars when I was a kid. They had us bring something for snack time in elementary school. It was either that or Dunkaroos. Haha. I can’t wait to try these. I love a good homemade granola bar. Perfect for road trips.

  18. I like the idea of drying my own own cherries and your granola bars look like the perfect treat when hiking or flying. I always take a snack on a long flight.

  19. I grew up on Quaker granola bars and still love the taste today. I would much rather make my own though and control the ingredients that I put in. This recipe looks like the perfect recipe for back-to-school. I will have to give it a try!

  20. Um, bags of baby carrots are actually the BEST snack and you are not weird at all for loving them 😉 I used to eat so many carrots growing up that my parents joke I would turn orange. Thankfully, I did not. I also ate a TON of the s’mores Quaker Chewy Bars. But now I’ve really been into recreating my childhood snacks (veganized, of course) and I absolutely love these granola bars you’ve made here!! 🙂

  21. used to love chewy (and kudos! the m&m ones especially) bars. these sound so much tastier, and healthier. and though i do like cherry and chocolate (cherry garcia is my favorite ben and jerrys flavor ever), non-melty cacao nibs would be perfect if i tried to take these on the go.