Chewy No-Bake Chocolate Cherry Oat Squares

Chewy No-Bake Chocolate Cherry Oat Squares | A Sweet SpoonfulWe’ve taken the tree out to the curb and I’ve been slowly putting away decorations, leaving the wintry snowflakes and bristle brush trees out for awhile. Oliver has been reluctant to let go of the holiday (who can blame him?!), so we’ve been continuing to talk about the Christmas lights in the neighborhood and reading our favorite holiday stories. His reindeer and yeti pajamas are still in heavy rotation. As is, sadly, the habit of having dessert after dinner each night which we never used to do but which somehow crept in during all of the treat frenzy this season. 

Chewy No-Bake Chocolate Cherry Oat Squares | A Sweet SpoonfulWe’ve been having a lot of pears and bananas in the morning lately, and a few days ago Oliver asked when we can eat a plum again. I told him plums were a summertime fruit, and he continued asking about apricots and peaches. I forget what a peach looks like on the inside, he told me. What color is it?! As we watched the fog slowly burn off the neighbor’s porch and talked about how many layers he wanted to wear that day, I started longing for those warmer days strolling the farmers market with him, too. Eating apricots and mini donuts instead of a proper lunch. Bringing home pints and pints of berries and often more peaches than we knew what we’d do with.

Chewy No-Bake Chocolate Cherry Oat Squares | A Sweet SpoonfulThe coming and going of seasons and holidays is a tough one for small people to get their minds around — so much excitement and chatter around Christmas and then, just like that, it’s over. Much like a summer plum or peach — one day, you just simply can’t get one anymore. Of course as adults we know that’s what makes the short holidays and fleeting summer months so beloved, but that perspective takes some time. So we’ve just been letting some things linger, warming up with cups of cocoa (and marshmallows which Oliver strangely and most unfortunately insists on eating with his hands) and keeping the holiday cookie tin on the counter. Except now I’ve replaced the cookies with these healthy-ish treats for snacking and dessert. So far no one’s complaining the cookies are gone.

Chewy No-Bake Chocolate Cherry Oat Squares | A Sweet SpoonfulI like these little squares because they’re soft and chewy. You can add anything you like to these. Oliver’s allergic to cashews and pistachios, so we stay away from those but any nuts, seeds or dried fruit you like is fair game. I like to cut these small to nestle easily into lunch boxes and, because they’re on the soft/chewy side, they stay together much more easily this way.

Happy New Year, friends! Thank you so much for continuing to read, comment, reach out and show up. What a fortunate thing to have such a gracious, smart, loyal community. xox

 

Chewy No-Bake Chocolate Cherry Oat Squares

Chewy No-Bake Chocolate Cherry Oat Squares

  • Yield: 20 squares
  • Prep time: 20 mins
  • Inactive time: 1 hr
  • Total time: 1 hr 20 mins

These bars are soft and chewy and super adaptable. If you’ve got nut allergies in your house, use sunflower seed butter here and swap in seeds for the nuts. Allergies or not, keep the proportions the same and use any nuts, seeds or dried fruit you like! I love the chocolate chunks, but you could certainly omit them to make these a bit more virtuous.

Ingredients

1 cup (100g) rolled oats
3/4 cup (75g) sliced almonds
1 cup (18g) puffed grain cereal (like kamut or rice)
½ cup (75g) dried tart cherries (or cranberries or raisins)
½ cup (70g) raw or toasted pepitas
1/2 cup (75g) chocolate chips
1/2 cup (120ml) almond butter
1/3 cup (80ml) honey
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch ground cinnamon

Instructions

Line an 8×8 inch baking dish with parchment paper.

Toss oats, almonds, puffed cereal, cherries, and pepitas together in a bowl (hold off on the chocolate chips for now).

In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the almond butter and honey until combined. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon.

Drizzle mixture over the dry ingredient and stir with a rubber spatula until everything is even coated (you can even get your bare hands in there at this point – it’s messy but quicker).

If mixture is relatively cool to the touch, fold in chocolate chips. Scrape mixture into the prepared pan and, using the back of a spatula, press evenly into a nice compact layer.

Refrigerate for at least one hour before slicing. Slice into 20 small squares (or larger squares or bars). Store in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 1 week.

Comments

  1. Lydia

    Coincidentally, my Oliver was allergic to cashews and pistachios as well. (As I’m sure you know, if you’re allergic to one, you’re allergic to the other.) But he grew out of it! The allergist said it’s rare. I hope your boy grows out of it too!

    I was actually just looking for a recipe to use up the last of my rice crisp cereal, so I think this is it!

    1. megang

      That's awesome to hear, Lydia! We're hoping O grows out of it, too. I Hope you like the recipe :)

  2. Suzanne Toaspern-Holm

    Hi Megan, This recipe looks like one to try. Great to take on hikes I would think. Really enjoyed your post about Oliver & the holidays. Just said good-bye to Ali & April & families, after almost two weeks of visiting. Sure can relate to how kids talk about holidays, foods in season etc. April's littlest, Eleanor asked her many times, "Where did Halloween go?" I'm sure she will have similiar questions about Christmas. Best wishes to you as you look forward to your post-Christmas gift. Love, Suzanne

    1. megang

      Hi, Suzanne! Always nice to see your name here :) Yes, the bars are great although they're pretty soft and hold up best refrigerated so I'm not sure it'd be my #1 pick for hiking unless you kind of don't mind if they stay firmly together. They definitely taste great ;) Thank you for the nice wishes - we're counting down the days over here :)

  3. Sarah

    Cannot wait to make these!

  4. Lucille

    I think I can include this chocolate cherry oat square in my diet plan. I need to mold it as per my calories and the new recipe will be ready, ta-da....

    1. megang

      Awesome!

  5. Corrie

    This is the most convenient recipe of chewy chocolate cherry oat squares as it does not need to be baked. One thing I really like about this recipe is to use honey instead of sugar which actually enhances the taste. I also used some maple syrup which was equally good. I want to ask if these can be frozen?

    1. megang

      Hi, Corrie. So glad you liked the recipe! I love these, too. You know, I haven't tried freezing them but I have a feeling they'd be just fine. Will you let us know if you try it? Thanks so much and have a great week!

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