It’s cherry season! Forward this to anyone you know with a cherry tree. Lightly sweetened and wholesome, these bars make a special breakfast, snack, or dessert.
I have pounds and pounds of semi-tart semi-sweet cherries from our friend’s tree, and so I’m going to make a lot of this filling and freeze it for future oatmeal bars.
Like all brightly-colored plant foods, cherries contain a lot of antioxidants (compounds that prevent or slow damage to cells). The main take-away I got from listening to How Not to Die by Michael Greger is to focus on getting as many antioxidants as possible. Anitoxidants can lower risk of depression, fight cancer and asthma, prevent stroke, lower blood pressure, to name a few. For a fascinating video about antioxidants and where to find the most, click here.
Cherries also contain lots of vitamin C, fiber, and even some choline (and you thought you had to eat eggs to get choline, huh?).
For more stone-fruit and oatmeal breakfast goodness, try these Peach Pie Breakfast Cookies.
Use fresh or frozen cherries for a delicious breakfast bar, snack, or dessert.
- 2.5 cups fresh or frozen pitted cherries (tart or sweet)
- 3 TBSP maple syrup or honey
- 1 TBSP cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
- 1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
- 1.5 cups oat flour (blend 1.5 cups oats in a blender until fine)
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
- 1/2 cup almond butter*
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds or shredded coconut (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper.
Prepare the cherry filling by combining all the filling ingredients in a saucepan on the stove. Let heat through over medium heat, and press the cherries against the side of the pan to crush them. Let them simmer for about 5 minutes until filling is thick. Set aside.
Prepare the crust by mixing all the ingredients together in a large bowl until well-coated. Divide the dough in half.
Press one half of the dough into the bottom of the parchment-lined pan. Press it evenly into a crust about 1/4 inch thick.
Pour the cherry filling on top. Then crumble the remaining half of the dough over the top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until just barley golden brown on top. Let cool completely in order for them to fully set up (either on the counter, fridge, or freezer depending on how much of a hurry you're in), then cut into bars.
Drizzle melted chocolate or white chocolate on top for a fancier dessert, or eat with a glass of plant milk for either breakfast or dessert.
*I actually usually reduce the maple syrup and almond butter to 1/3 cup each, to cut back on fat and sugar. Not quite as tender and crisp but still delicious!
Instead of almond butter, you can use any nut or seed butter, but it will have a different taste.
You can use coconut butter or coconut oil instead of almond butter for a nut-free option.
Recipe adapted from Ambitious Kitchen.