Healthy Recipes: Chocolate-Cherry Snack Bars

Servings: 16

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes (including 1 hour cooling time)

To Make Ahead: Store airtight for up to 1 week. | Equipment: parchment paper

Recipe Description:

These cereal bars are chewy, crunchy and delicious with good-for-you seeds, nuts, fruit and little explosions of chocolate. We like the flavor of dried cherries or cranberries, but any coarsely chopped dried fruit will work.

Recipe Ingredients:

  1. 2 1/2 cups unsweetened puffed wheat cereal
  2. 1/2 cup pecan halves, chopped medium-fine
  3. 1/3 cup salted roasted pepitas (see Notes)
  4. 1/4 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
  5. 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  6. 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds (see Notes)
  7. 1/2 cup honey
  8. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  9. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  10. 1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips or finely chopped bittersweet chocolate

Recipe Steps:

  1. Position a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 300°F. Line an 8-inch-square pan with parchment paper, letting it overhang on two opposite sides.
  2. Toss cereal, pecans, pepitas, cherries (or cranberries), sesame seeds and ground flaxseeds in a large bowl.
  3. Combine honey, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan. Warm over medium heat, stirring, until the honey is more fluid and the salt is dissolved. Pour the honey mixture over the dry ingredients and fold until everything is moistened and sticky. Let cool for 5 minutes. Fold in chips (or chopped chocolate) until evenly distributed. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a fork. Using the back of the fork, press the mixture very firmly all over. (Alternatively, cover with parchment paper and press firmly all over.)
  4. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 35 minutes. (If in doubt, take it out so the honey does not burn.) Run a knife along the unlined sides of the pan to detach the bars. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack to room temperature, about 1 hour. Use the ends of the parchment to lift the bars from the pan. Gently peel off the parchment. Use a heavy sharp knife to cut into 16 bars or squares.

Recipe Tips & Notes:

  1. Notes: Hulled pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are medium-dark green and have a delicate nutty flavor. They are sold salted, roasted and raw, and can be found in the natural-foods section of many supermarkets.
  2. Look for ground flaxseeds (or flaxmeal) in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets or in natural-foods stores. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Recipe Nutrition:

Per serving: 109 calories; 5 g fat (1 g sat, 2 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 17 g carbohydrate; 12 g added sugars; 1 g protein; 1 g fiber; 54 mg sodium; 66 mg potassium

1 Carbohydrate Servings

Exchanges: 1 carbohydrate (other), 1 fat