As a born-and-bred Pacific Northwesterner, I am blessed to be surrounded by Washington state’s magnificent mountains, lakes and the stunning Puget Sound. This means that every chance I get, I go outside with my family to take advantage of this natural beauty: walking the beaches along the Sound, paddle boarding on Lake Washington and, my favorite, tackling the steep and lush hikes up Washington’s many mountain trails.

The seasoned adventurer will always tell you, be prepared for anything when you plan for a hike, long or short. That means having a backpack filled with basic first-aid supplies, navigation tools, weather-appropriate clothing, water and especially healthy whole foods that will bolster your energy and help get you up those final steep miles.

More than once, this tried-and-true chocolaty cherry energy bar recipe has made even the steepest climbs manageable. They are extremely easy to make, grain-free and also delicious as a midafternoon snack or dessert after dinner.

I hope you love them as much as my family does!

Chocolaty Cherry Energy Bars

Equipment:
8-inch square baking pan
Parchment paper
Medium mixing bowl
Spatula or wooden spoon

Ingredients:
⅓ cup honey
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
⅓ cup almond flour or meal
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon almond butter
2 cups whole almonds, roughly chopped
½ cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
⅓ cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Line baking pan with parchment paper. Make sure some of the paper is hanging over the sides for easier removal after your bars are cooked.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together your honey, vanilla, almond flour or meal, salt and almond butter. Gently fold in the almonds, cherries and chocolate chips.
  3. Pour out mixture into your baking pan and press down firmly. The batter should be pressed into an even layer. Press down very firmly again to ensure that it is really packed down. This will help the bars stay in one piece!
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, set it aside and allow your bars to cool completely. This should take about an hour.
  5. Place your pan into the refrigerator for another hour. This helps firm up the bars so they stay compact.
  6. Remove from refrigerator and pull out the slab from the pan all in one piece, grabbing the overhanging paper and pulling up and out.
  7. Cut into bars and wrap each bar in plastic wrap. Store your bars in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Enjoy!