These Gluten-Free Black Cherry Walnut Bars have the perfect amount of sweetness and crunch. The crust is made from walnuts and oats, while the thick gooey filling is a combination of dried cherries and medjool dates swirled with applesauce and chia seeds. Decadent enough for dessert, but healthy ingredients dictate that they can also stand in as a grab and go breakfast option.
These Black Cherry Walnut Bars are adapted from the gorgeous cookbook, My New Roots: Inspired Plant Based Recipes. If you’ve visited Sarah’s blog, My New Roots, you may already be familiar with her plant-based recipes. Her recipes are simple, inspired and clean. Many are vegan and/or gluten free. It’s my new favorite cookbook. If you’d like a copy, you can get it on Amazon here. The cost is about $30, BUT, you could get it here, for FREE, fab-u-lous day!!!
Giveaway details: One lucky winner will receive their very own copy of My New Roots: Inspired Plant Based Recipes by Sarah Britton. The winner will be chosen at random and notified by email on Monday, November 16th. To enter, just follow Simply Sissom on Pinterest or Instagram and leave a comment below letting me know it’s done. Want to enter twice?… follow both! Already following? No worries, you can get in on the fun too. Let me know in the comment section of this post.. and you will be entered as well!
Sarah’s original recipe calls for a dried fig filling, it was gooey and delicious, think grown up version of a Fig Newtown Cookie, and had the most delectable crumbly top. The bars popped out of the pan beautifully and held their shape once given the opportunity to cool completely. But… I wanted something with a filling that was a little more traditional. I swapped out dried figs for a combination of cherries and dates and amped up the spices a little. Fruity Filling Perfection.
Time Saving Tips and Tricks:
Make Ahead: The bars need to cool completely before being removed from the pan, therefore, there is no reason not to make this recipe in advance! Just store cooked bars in a covered dish in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve them.
Freezer: Why not make a double batch and store the extras in the freezer. Perfect for a grab and go breakfast (no shame in black cherry walnut bars for breakfast- they are healthy!), or an easy desert! I like to store them in individual Ziplock bags and defrost as needed when I need a sugar craving buster!
- 1½ TBS Chia Seeds
- 2 cups walnuts. roughly chopped
- 2 cups rolled oats (purchase gluten free if desired)
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 TBS pure maple syrup (I like Grade B)
- 1 TBS coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. fine grain sea salt, divided
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
- 1 cup of medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
- 1 TBS cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ground ginger
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. cloves
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- Cover a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper. Place 1 cup of chopped walnuts on pan and place in oven. Heat oven to 350 degrees. (The pan should be in the oven while it is pre-heating. Bake walnuts until they are lightly toasted, about 5-10 minutes. Keep your eye on them... they burn fast! Remove from oven, and allow to cool.
- In a small bowl, combine the chia seeds with ¼ cup of water; set aside. The mixture will form a gel.
- In a food processor, add 2 cups of oats and process until consistency is similar to flour. Add toasted walnuts, and blend until mixture has the consistency of rough sand. Add chia gel, applesauce, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla. Pulse until fully incorporated.
- In a medium bowl, combine the remaining oats, salt, and baking powder. Add the food processed mixture. Use a rubber spatula to combine.
- Take ⅔ of the crust "dough" (reserve the other ⅓) and press it into an 8 inch square baking pan. Wet your hands a little to help prevent the dough from sticking.
- FILLING: In foodprocessor, add cherries, dates, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and lemon zest. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth. Spread mixture evenly over crust (this makes a lot of filling... use it al!!).
- Crumble the remaining pie crust evenly over the filling layer. Sprinkle remaining cup of walnuts on as well. Lightly press the pie crust crumbles and nuts into the filling. Bake 25-30 minutes or until the topping is golden brown. Enjoy!
- Seriously… watch the walnuts. They are expensive and burn fast!!!
- Store the baked bars in the refrigerator… they don’t have any preservatives, and thats a good thing!
- If you can’t find black cherries.. you can use a different variety or swap them for your favorite dried fruit.
- I haven’t tried it, but I have a feeling that pecans would be delicious as well.. maybe with a pumpkin style filling? Somebody make-em and shoot me the recipe!
FREE: GRAB N" GO BREAKFAST EBOOK
10 Make-Ahead,Whole Food Breakfast Recipes to help mornings go a little smoother and maybe even get you a little bit of extra sleep!