Chewy Cherry Chocolate Granola Bars


Being flexible. It’s a whole new thing I’m learning, under the tutelage of a squirmy eight-pound human.

Yes, some days I’m a bit bleary-eyed – but it’s actually been wonderfully liberating to throw organization, productivity and scheduling out the window. Between the 3 am chow time, and the inevitable hunger cries exactly when we were about to load into the car/make dinner/write a blog post/eat dinner/take a shower/finish an email, little peanut has taught me to go with the flow, in a whole new way.

Baby’s tummy (with the circumference of a walnut) empties quickly and when he wants milk, he wants milk now! As soon as his bum is wet, he wants a to have been changed five minutes ago! There’s just no point in fighting it. He doesn’t care that it’s an ungodly hour, or that I was otherwise engaged. The only choice for happiness is to enjoy the moment, smother him in kisses, and roll with the schedule he dictates. In doing so, I feel surprisingly relaxed. It’s nice.

He’s also taught me the necessity of stashing snacks in pockets, sofa-cracks and bedside tables, because he seems to just know when I was about to make a meal, and find himself hungry at that moment. Enter Cherry Chocolate Granola Bars…

I finally perfected the super-chewy homemade granola bar! Here are the secrets:

First, you pulse some of the oats to a powder before you mix everything together. Second, the right ratio of liquid sweetener (honey or corn syrup) is necessary, and third, you must let the bars cool completely in the pan rather than transferring them to a cooling rack right away.

Layer the bars between sheets of waxed paper in an air-tight container and store up to a week, or freeze them individually wrapped and they’ll last for months – pop them directly into your lunch box and they’ll be thawed by snack time.

Chewy Cherry Chocolate Granola Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
  • 2 ½ cups old fashioned rolled oats (large flake - not quick or instant)
  • 1 cup whole almonds
  • ⅓ cup honey or corn syrup
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅛ tsp almond extract
  • ⅔ cup dried cherries (or cranberries)
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9 x 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine honey or corn syrup, brown sugar, salt and vegetable oil. Cook, stirring, until brown sugar dissolves (about 2 minutes). Transfer syrup to a large mixing bowl, stir in vanilla and almond extracts and cool to room temperature (if not properly cooled, chocolate will melt...)
  3. In a food processor, place ½ cup large flake oats and pulse to a flour consistency. Add to the mixing bowl with the syrup, along with the remaining 2 cups large flake oats, almonds, cherries and chocolate. Use your hands, moistened with water, to combine all the ingredients well. Press evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes.
  4. Allow granola bars to cool completely in the pan, set on top of a wire cooling rack. Cut lengthwise into 6 strips, and then cut each strip in half to yield 12 bars.
  • Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl

    Homemade granola bars are my favorite, especially with added chocolate and pretzels!

    • foodess

      Pretzels?! Might have to try that sometime…

  • theviewfromGreatIsland

    Oh I remember those days! You seem to be handling it all with a wonderful sense of humor and grace. These bars look perfect, chocolate and cherry just happens to be my favorite combination!

    • foodess

      Thank you :)

  • Cynthia Gorman

    This truly sounds like my idea of the perfect snack! Do you think that maple syrup could be used in place of the honey/corn syrup?

    • foodess

      Hmm.. you know, I can’t say for sure, just because it has more water in it. I think it would be okay, but I might be inclined to start with 1/2 cup of maple syrup and boil it down to 1/3 cup to make sure you get the same chewy texture.

      • Cynthia Gorman

        will give it a try… thanks!

  • Alisha

    I’m expecting my 2nd any day now and actually made a batch of granola bars similar to these, except I dumped in some brewers yeast (maybe 1/4C or more) and some flax seed meal (several tablespoons) to make them Lactation Granola Bars!! Most of them are in a bag in the freezer, waiting for baby, but I admit I’ve had a few in the meantime. Good luck with the little one!!

    • foodess

      Hi Alisha! Wow, exciting – hope all goes smoothly for you as you welcome the new little one into your fam. Didn’t know that about brewers yeast! Thanks for the tip :)

  • Asha Shivakumar

    Juggling a little one and a blog can be a handful. Hope your little baby is doing good.
    Bars are anytime perfect for a quick snack. Looks nice.

    • foodess

      Thanks, Asha! Juggling ANYTHING and a little one can perhaps be a handful! But we’re managing :)

  • J

    Hi! I started to make this earlier and noticed there is 1/2 cup of oats unaccounted for in the recipe.The ingredient list calls for 2 1/2 cups and the recipe instructs to pulse 1/2 cup and the add 1 1/2 cup whole oats to the mixture. Am I missing something? Thanks.

    • foodess

      Thanks for noticing that, fixed now! :)

  • Alicia @bakeaholic

    these look delicious! Love the idea of pulsing the oats beforehand as well

  • sadievic

    This entry warmed my heart! I too am a new mother and granola bars are always a go to snack for me. I will sub agave nectar in. Thank you.

    • foodess

      Thanks, Sadie. New mommy high five! :)

  • QueenBess

    These Granola bars are so Delicious and easy to make.. what a fab recipe. I also made them into lactation bars by adding the brewers yeast and froze a bunch before the new baby arrived, but despite them being lactation bars the whole family ate them. I give them to my 4 year old in his school lunchbox and my husband loves them. Needless to say they are all gone and Im making at least 4 batches tomorrow… Thanks for such a yummy recipe.