Chocolate Cherry Energy Bars

  • Serves: Makes 10 bars; 8- x 8- or 9- x 9-inch pan
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 300
  • Views: 6789

 by Sarah Phillips and Kelly Hong; Food styling and photos by Kelly Hong © 7-8-2014 Sarah Phillips

Now you can make yummy gluten-free energy bars in your home kitchen that are moist, flavorful, and lightly sweetened. See what special ingredient I used so that they aren't dry, cracked, overly sticky like other energy bar recipes. I also use a special sweetener to keep them from being overly sweet!Better yet, these cost far less to make than what you'd pay in stores, and YOU get to control what goes in them, which is especially great for those with food allergies!


I developed this recipe with a small amount of vegetable oil because I find that it helps keep the bars moist, prevents stickiness, and keeps them fresh longer, which solves the problems I've found in other similar bar recipes that can be dry, crack, or become overly sticky. I've used brown rice syrup instead of honey or corn syrup because it has a very lightly sweet flavor and keeps the bar supple; I found that using honey produced too sweet a bar, and corn syrup caused the bars to become overly hard when baked. I like to use Lundberg Organic Sweet Dreams Brown Rice Syrup, which you can easily find online or in many grocery or health food stores.

For the bars: 
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1/4 cup hulled pumpkin seeds, toasted
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted
1/3 cup puffed millet or gluten free crispy brown rice cereal
1/2 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons vegetable oil 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

For the chocolate drizzle:
1 cup gluten free chocolate chips, or chopped chocolate
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1. Rough chop the walnuts and almonds.

2. Toast the pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds in a dry pan, over low heat, stirring constantly, until they just begin to become brown and fragrant.

3. Spray your knife with cooking spray and rough chop the dried cherries.

1.  Position an oven shelf to the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

2. Prepare an 8- x 8-inch pan by lining it with foil. Spray the foil well with nonstick cooking spray. Set pan aside.
SARAH SAYS: You can use a 9- x 9-inch pan, but the bars will be a bit thinner.

2. Put the walnuts, almonds toasted seeds, puffed millet cereal and dried cherries in a large bowl.
Add the salt, oil, and vanilla and stir to combine.

3. Add the brown rice syrup and stir the mixture until it is evenly distributed.

4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, then spray a piece of plastic wrap with cooking spray.
Put the plastic, sprayed side down, on the mixture and press down until it is compressed into an even layer.
Remove the plastic wrap.

Bake the bars and cut into individual servings:
1. Bake the bars for 16 - 20 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown, and the center looks set.

2. Let the mixture cool, in the pan for at least 20 minutes before you attempt to remove the foil.
The foil WILL stick to the bars if you try to remove it when it is still warm!

3. When fully cooled, remove from the pan by pulling up on the foil at the edges of the pan.
Flip over and peel away the foil.

4. Flip the bars back over, and cut in half with a serrated knife.
Cut each half in 5 equal pieces, making 10 bars.

5. Place the cut bars on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper while you make the chocolate drizzle. Space them about 3/4-inch apart.

Drizzle with chocolate:
1. Put the chocolate in a small microwave safe bowl, then add the oil.

2. Microwave in 30 second bursts until the chocolate is almost melted. Stir until fully melted.

3. Put the melted chocolate in a squeeze bottle, or in a small zip-top bag.
Squeeze the chocolate, decoratively, over each bar.
NOTE: If you are using a zip-top bag, just snip a small hole in the corner of the bag, to drizzle the topping.

4. Briefly pop the bars in the refrigerator, to set the chocolate, then remove them>

Serve the bars or wrap them individually in plastic wrap.

Store at room temperature for up to 4 days.

For longer storage, freeze for up to two months.
If you freeze them, you can pop one in a lunchbox, and they will be thawed and ready to eat at lunch time.