Now that I am back on my exercise regime, working on trimming back the Christmas food belly, I am looking for ways to satisfy my sweet tooth in a "healthy" way. This recipe has been passed around our family ever since I changed a few ingredients to make it gluten-free almost 5 years ago. I found the original recipe on the Whole Foods website, but sadly, it isn't there any more. You could call it a decadent granola bar, but we like to think of it as dessert only, limiting the time of day we are allowed to eat it and lessening the chances of raiding the cupboard at breakfast and lunch. Don't blame me if you want to change these rules.... enjoy!
COCOA CHERRY CHEWY BARS
3 tbsp sunflower oil
3/4 cup honey
2 tsp natural vanilla extract
4 ozs (125 g) dark chocolate (at least 60% dark), chopped (about ¾ cup)
1/3 cup cacao nibs
3/4 cup dried unsweetened Bing or sour cherries or dried blueberries, roughly chopped
1 ¼ cups GF rolled oats
3/4 cup rice flakes
3/4 cup coarsely chopped salted pistachios
4 tsp xanthan gum
Preheat oven to 350°F and position rack in middle of oven. Line a 10x10-inch baking dish with parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine oil with honey, vanilla and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, combine chocolate pieces, cacao nibs, chopped cherries, oats, rice flakes, pistachios and xanthan gum. Pour liquid ingredients over dry ingredients and stir to coat completely and combine well. Pour into prepared pan and press flat with a spatula.
Bake until golden and firm, about 25 minutes. Place pan on a rack to cool completely. Using parchment paper or foil as an aid, lift bars out and place on countertop. Place a cutting board on top of bars and flip over, so foil or parchment is on top. Peel back parchment paper and discard. Gently slice bars with a serrated knife. Store in airtight container for up two weeks in refrigerator or individually wrap and freeze.
Diane Zwickel lives and knits in South Surrey, B.C. Canada