Dried Cherry and Almond Energy Bars

Dried Cherry and Almond Energy Bars - not only incredibly healthy, these bars are crazy good. My son says they're "better than Kind Bars!" thecafesucrefarine.com

These bars are incredibly healthy and crazy good! My son says they’re “better than Kind Bars!”

Do you have a wish list? It seems I always have at least a little one in the making. Not things I can’t live without, not anything I HAVE to have, but always a few things that I think would be really nice.

There was one thing that remained on my wish list for years; it was sort of silly, but nevertheless something I really wanted.

I have to say though, I figured it was pretty hopeless…

What I really wanted was a big wicker basket for my bicycle. Natural would be my choice, but I’d also would have been quite happy with a white one. I’ve loved bike riding for as long as I can remember and thought it would be really fun and quite “European” to have big wicker basket. I could carry groceries, snacks, picnics, etc.

The problem was, according to my husband and son, that “real bike riders” don’t have baskets, especially wicker baskets. They have little zippered pouches attached to their handlebars, if anything. They said that, since I had a “real” bike: decently light, 10 gears, with good tires, wheels and brakes, that I didn’t need things like baskets weighing it down. Plus, they made it quite clear that wicker baskets on bikes looked sort of ridiculous for a “real biker”.

I didn’t really care about looking like a “real biker” or even about the weight. I just thought one of those pretty, wicker, big baskets would be really cool. Hopeless romantic that I am, I dreamed about taking bike rides with the basket filled with cheese, fruit, a crusty French baguette, a blanket for a picnic, maybe even a bottle of wine and a few fine chocolates. Oh, and along the way, I could stop and pick a bouquet of wild flowers and tuck those in the basket too!

The whole thing seemed like a pipe dream. But lo and behold, one day, just before Mother’s Day several years ago, the door bell rang. When I opened the front door, there was a big brown package – with my name on it. It was from my son, Nick and his wife Lindsay.  I tore open the box and couldn’t believe my eyes. Yes, it was the basket for my bike!! Well… not a wicker basket but a really nice black wire basket to go on my handlebars. I couldn’t wait for Scott to install it.

I loved that basket and filled it, as you might imagine, with all sorts of good things. If you were taking a bike ride with me, you’d never know what I’d pull out half way though the trip. Sometimes it was a bag of cookies like these I Want to Marry You Cookies or perhaps these Double Chocolate Sugar Cookies, or maybe thermoses of milk and a few Morning Glory Muffins.

Morning Glory Muffins with Candied Pecan Topping - one of those "never-fail" recipes! And I love that they're so delicious and loaded with healthy ingredients. The topping is amazing!

It might be something super healthy like a Peach and Fresh Pineapple Green Smoothie, one for you and one for me – in nice insulated bottles. I had plenty of room in that basket!

Peach and Fresh Pineapple Green Smoothie - a great way to lose weight and a super healthy and delicious way to start the day!

Sadly, the basket didn’t last super long though, only about 9 months. The holidays rolled around that year and Christmas morning, I came downstairs to find a delightful surprise. A brand new, shiny, super nice (more “real”), 18 gear bicycle under the tree! I loved this new bike from the start, but there was one problem. With the fancy gears, odometer, etc. there was NO room on the handlebars to attach my basket. Just enough room for a small little zippered pouch.

Oh well, it took me awhile, but I guess I’ve just learned to think a bit smaller, maybe more like a “real biker”. I still take treats along on our bike rides, but usually these days it’s just a small container or two of Greek yogurt, some fresh fruit in a little baggie and a small sack of granola. We’re biking much farther these days, and really need something that will satisfy and give us lots of energy.

Dried Cherry and Almond Energy Bars - not only incredibly healthy, these bars are crazy good. My son says they're "better than Kind Bars!" thecafesucrefarine.com

These Dried Cherry and Almond Energy Bars are the perfect snack to take along on our bike adventures. Yes, they fit quite nicely in my little zippered bag, but they’re also crazy delicious and full of wonderful, healthy ingredients. In addition to the dried cherries and almonds, they contain pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pepitas, sesame seeds, flax seed, chia seed, rice syrup (or honey) and coconut oil. See what I mean about healthy? One of these yummy bars will satiate us for miles and miles.

Dried Cherry and Almond Energy Bars - not only incredibly healthy, these bars are crazy good. My son says they're "better than Kind Bars!" thecafesucrefarine.com

I adapted these Dried Cherry and Almond Energy Bars from my Paleo Granola recipe. We’ve enjoyed this granola so much I thought it would be fun to transform it into bars. It took me a few tries, because at first, they didn’t hold together well. No matter how hard I tried to compress them, as soon as I removed the bars from the pan, they crumbled back into granola.

Dried Cherry and Almond Energy Bars - not only incredibly healthy, these bars are crazy good. My son says they're "better than Kind Bars!" thecafesucrefarine.com

Then I saw an idea in Bon Appetit for energy bars that used a “glue” made from dried fruit and rice syrup (or honey) combined in a food processor. Although I didn’t use their recipe, I tried this technique for my bars and it worked like a charm.

Dried Cherry and Almond Energy Bars - not only incredibly healthy, these bars are crazy good. My son says they're "better than Kind Bars!" thecafesucrefarine.com

After perfecting the recipe, I gave a sample to my son Nick, explaining to him that they were similar to Kind Bars, which are hugely popular right now. He took a bite and said, “Mom, they’re better than Kind Bars!”. I felt like that was a “real” compliment. And you know what? I bet he would feel like a “real biker” with one (or two) of these delicious energy bars tucked in the back pocket of his biker shirt!

Dried Cherry and Almond Energy Bars - not only incredibly healthy, these bars are crazy good. My son says they're "better than Kind Bars!" thecafesucrefarine.com

Whether you bike or not, I think you’ll love these wonderful, healthy bars. They’re great for breakfast, snacks, school breaks, hiking, anytime you need a super tasty, compact, healthy treat. They freeze well too. I like to make a double batch and pop most of them in the freezer. I just pull a couple of them out at night and throw them in a ziplock bag. In the morning, Scott and I are ready to hit the road on our horses bikes.

Dried Cherry and Almond Energy Bars - not only incredibly healthy, these bars are crazy good. My son says they're "better than Kind Bars!" thecafesucrefarine.com

Enjoy!

P.S. I asked my son if there was anything a “real biker” could do that would be as ridiculous as sporting a big wicker basket on the handlebars. He said “maybe wearing a chicken suit while riding”.

I’m thinking of putting a chicken suit on my wish list…

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Dried Cherry and Almond Energy Bars

Dried Cherry and Almond Energy Bars - not only incredibly healthy, these bars are crazy good. My son says they're "better than Kind Bars!"

4.9 from 7 reviews

These bars are crazy good AND incredibly healthy! They’re perfect for breakfast, snacks, school or work breaks, hiking, biking, anytime you need a super nutritious snack on the run!

  • Author:
  • Yield: 16-32 bars
  • Category: Snack, Breakfast

Ingredients

  • For the nut/seed mixture:
  • ½ cup whole almonds
  • 1 cup blanched, sliced almonds
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¾ cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
  • ½ cup sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup ground flax seed meal
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 4 tablespoons rice syrup
  • For the dried cherry mixture:
  • 1 cup dried cherries*
  • 2 tablespoons rice syrup
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300˚F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking pan, then line the pan with parchment paper with ends extending over 2 edges of the pan. Set aside.
  2. Place nuts, seeds and coconut flakes on a sheet pan. Add the 3 tablespoons of coconut oil and 4 tablespoons of rice syrup. Stir to combine. Place in oven for 20-25 minutes or until mixture begins to turn golden, stirring well every five minutes to redistribute. Remove from oven andallow to cool for 5 minutes. Reduce temperature to 250˚F.
  3. While nuts and seeds are toasting, combine cherries, 2 tablespoons rice syrup, 2 tablespoons coconut oil, cinnamon salt and vanilla in the bowl of a food processor. Process for 1 minute or until mixture is fairly smooth.
  4. Combine toasted nut/seed mixture and cherry mixture from food processor in a large bowl. Stir with a large spatula to combine. Cherry mixture will be thick, so you’ll need to work it into the nut/seed mixture. Keep stirring and working the cherry mixture in until there are no large chunks left. This will take several minutes and will be easier if you don’t let the nuts cool down too much. I like to put my bowl in my sink as it’s much easier for me to stir it and work the cherry mixture in from above. These silicone spatulas with wooden handles are some of my favorite kitchen tools. They’re inexpensive, sturdy and you don’t have to worry about the handles melting if resting on a hot pot. I have a zillion of them and and you’ll often find every last one of them in my dishwasher as I use them ALL the time. They’re perfect for a job like this.
  5. Transfer mixture to prepared 8-inch pan and, using a lightly oiled spatula or oiled fingers pat mixture firmly to an even layer.
  6. Place pan in oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until bars are no longer sticky. Cool in pan, then remove (with parchment paper “handles”) to a cutting board and cut into 1 x 4-inch bars. If smaller servings are desired, cut into 1 x 2-inch bars. Store in an airtight container. You can also freeze bars, uncovered, on a sheet pan. When frozen, transfer to a ziplock bag or airtight container. Thaw before serving.

Notes

*I really like the dried cherries at Costco. If you don’t have a Costco nearby, you can also order them online.
This recipe is very flexible. If you don’t have or don’t like one of the nuts and/or seeds, just substitute what you have or what you like. Just keep the proportions the same.
For the dried cherry mixture, you have sub other dried fruit like raisins or dried cranberries. Just keep the proportions the same.
These bars are fairly thick. I usually cut them into 2×1 inch bars but if you like a thinner bar, just make them in a 9×13-inch pan.
I often purchase my pepitas and sesame seeds at a nearby Mediterranean market. They have them in bulk and they’re WAY cheaper than Whole Foods. Trader Joe’s is also a place where you can find nuts and seeds for a reasonable price.

 



41 thoughts on “Dried Cherry and Almond Energy Bars”

  • I eat a lot of store-bought granola bars for breakfast, which are all quite high in sugar, I’ve been looking for a relatively easy homemade recipe for breakfast bars so I could just make them at home and control what goes in them. I really like that this recipe includes both flax and chia seeds!

    Thanks for posting! Cheers!

  • This is my favorite site. I just love the recipes and the stories just brightens any day. I will be making these for my daughter who is expecting in Feb. and of course for me. Glad to find healthy freezable food. Good thing to stock up on. Please keep the fantastic recipes and stories coming. Thanks.

  • Oh my goodness these are amazing!!!
    So I wanted to make these and was not able to make it to the store for all the ingredients. I pulled out everything nut and seed related in my freezer and went to town. Here are the substitutions I made in order to make these as soon as I saw the recipe:
    Didn’t have cherries so I used golden raisins – delicious!
    Didn’t have walnuts so I used cashews
    Didn’t have Flax seed meal so I used flax seeds
    Didn’t have rice syrup so I used a combination of honey and agave
    Didn’t have chia seeds, left them out, but will get them for next time.
    I used salted roasted pepitas and cashews so I deleted the salt and didn’t roast these in the oven with the other nuts.
    I used my hands (best tools in the kitchen) to mix the raisin and warm nut mixture – perfectly easy.
    And they turned out FANTASTIC!!! I let them sit on the counter over night and they sliced perfectly and did not fall apart all.
    Perfection!!!
    As soon as I get to the store I will get all the ingredient to make them as Chris did but these are soo good. I was so grateful that Chris said this recipe it flexible because it really is.
    They are soo much better than store bought!!
    Thank you for this amazing recipe.

  • When my children were young it was all about “the cookie” … as adults who enjoy the outdoor lifestyle of CO these cherry/almond bars are PERFECT! Hiking, biking, snowshoeing, camping will be better enjoyed with these nutritious offerings. Thanks for sharing of your time and talent!

  • I am a huge fan of chewy, nutty, fruit-filled energy bars of the sort made by Lärabar. It was looking at the ingredient list of my favorite Cherry Pie Lärabar that made me first consider making them myself.

  • These look really super tasty. I just wondered how long they are likely to last? You say you can freeze them, but how long would you keep them in the fridge or pantry?

    • Hi Nicola,
      I think these would be fine in the pantry for 3-4 days but because they don’t have any preservatives, I would probably keep them in the fridge and they should be good for a week or two. Indefinitely in the freezer.

  • I too am an avid biker and can totally relate to the longing for a wicker basket – they are just so charming! Every time I see one leaning against the wall outside of a store (always unlocked because who would steal from the type of person who would ride a bike with a wicker basket) I want one. I have the perfect solution for you – you need two bikes. One old rickety bike with a wicker basket that you can tool around on casually and another more high end bike (sounds like you’ve got this covered) for serious biking. Either way the delicious energy bars will sustain you on your ride! Beautiful blog – first visit!

  • Made those energy bars, and sure enough they held together nicely and they taste wonderful. I packed some off with my daughter on a road trip, the rest are in the freezer. Thanks for the great recipe. 🙂

  • Those pepitas!!! I simply love them in just about anything, but they are a perfect addition here. I can only imagine though, how cute a nice natural colored wicker basket would look overflowing with these nicely wrapped bars!! 😉

  • I like the idea of the chicken suit and the wicker basket – especially full of your goodies!
    But I like Nick too and it probably wouldn’t be the first chicken suit he saw riding a bike:):):)

  • You must have been like Maria in Sound of Music. But I really can’t see you in a chicken suit. However I could see munching on these bars. I just bought a bag of the Costco cherries yesterday and was going to use some in granola. I have now changes my mind!

  • OMG, These look #Awesome. I am going to make these for sure. Thanks to Sue @theviewfromgreatisland I found your page..

  • These sound exactly like what I need right now Chris – a super healthy snack to get me through the day. I’m also looking for recipes to stock the freezer for when baby number two arrives and these look perfect! I had visions of you riding with your basket filled with a baguette and all sorts of other goodies.

  • chris these are beautiful! I made some similar a year or two ago using rice syrup as well and they were sensational. What I love about yours is that they are nice and thick. I’m going to try your version filled with all these goodies. They’re sure to be a hit here especially since we bike for hours on end. They’ll be ideal to put in my backpack, which by the way, my husband says looks silly when I’m riding. He too said real bikers don’t use a backpack. I guess I should stuff it in the back of my biking jersey. Go figure!

  • These have to be so delicious. Yum!! I like the idea of the basket on the handlebars. HA!!

  • My first thought when I seen the picture was, “how did she get them so compact?”. Now I know! They look yummy and I’m a Kind bar fan as well.

  • I’m so sorry you don’t have room for your basket anymore but I love that your daughter and son-in-law sent one to you 🙂 I’ve been wanting to make granola bars for my grandsons for an afternoon snack. Not sure they would like all the nuts and seeds in these but I certainly would love them! The nuttier the better in my book 🙂 We have a family friend who, for her graduate degree in business, designed leather carry totes for the back of motor scooters. Very European and charming.

  • Chris, these are beautiful! They look so moist and chewy. Far better than Kind (and I like Kind)! I have a unique wishlist too. An old vintage bike with a wicker basket is on that list. Of course, then I would need that little farmhouse on a dirt road down the street from the community market to complete that vision! LOVE LOVE LOVE your gorgeous photography!

  • I wanted to comment last night..but for some reason ..I have to always resubmit..name..email..website..it’s not saved..on my Mini at night..the connection is often iffy and getting the info in..is treacherous:)
    The bars are so perfect..like everything you do.
    I have a small wicker basket from Amazon on my bike and so does J.. we have to pick up our mail down our street..the basket is super handy.
    Your new bike sounds wow..well the newer one:)
    My daughter has a great bike..looks old fashioned..no speeds and you pedal backwards to brake.I love it.
    Jacques bikes every day..well not in winter..

  • Homemade power bars are definitely a favourite in our house. I must give this a try too. Thanks for sharing, Chris.
    p.s I noticed there are two lists for the Cherry Mixture with different quantity on the ingredients…..do I need both of them?

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