No-Bake Chocolate Covered Cherry Bars

When thinking up fun dessert ideas for Cara’s gluten free and vegan Valentine’s day bake-off, I thought about romantic dessert ideas such as chopped dipped strawberries. While chocolate dipped strawberries are delicious, they have been done over and over — not creative enough for the bake off! They did however inspire these chocolate covered cherry bars 🙂

I found a package of crunchy freeze dried cherries at the grocery store, being red/pink I wanted to use them in one way or another. I ground them into a flour like consistency along with oats and cashews to make a no-bake cherry bar topped with a chocolate layer that is delicious and easy!

I understand that not everyone has the urge to run out a buy freeze dried fruit but I wanted to be inventive and creative with a different ingredient. If you would like to make your own version at home, dried cherries (or strawberries) would be a good substitute and easier to find but the amount of liquid needed will most likely need to be reduced. Hold off on adding the milk until after all the ingredients are added then use small amounts if needed.

No-Bake Chocolate Covered Cherry Bars 

Ingredients

For Cherry Bar 
3/4 cup of freeze dried cherries (strawberries or raspberries would work too) -I used Just Cherries brand*
1 1/4 cup raw cashews
2/3 cup gluten free oats
4 Tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut (or 2 Tbsp coconut flour other gluten free flour could be subbed)
1/2 tsp beet powder (optional for additional red/pink color)
dash of sea salt
2-3 Tbsp agave (or 5-6 soaked medjool dates could probably be subbed) or to taste
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 Tbsp coconut oil or Earth balance or coconut butter for more coconut taste, melted**
non dairy milk as needed (I used unsweetened rice milk)

For Chocolate Topping
2 Tbsp raw cacao powder, cocoa powder or raw carob powder for caffeine free
1 tbsp agave
3 tbsp coconut oil, melted (use refined if you don’t like to coconut taste)
tiny pinch of sea salt, optional

Directions

1. Line a loaf pan with parchment or wax paper and set aside.
2. In a food processor (a vitamix might work), pulse together freeze dried cherries, oats, cashews, coconut/coconut flour, beet powder and salt until a flour mixture forms. If you want a chunkier bar, then you can process less – just make sure not to overprocess and turn it into a nut butter!
3. Add in remaining ingredients and pulse until a ball forms. Add a small drizzle of non-dairy milk as needed just until a ball forms or the mixture holds together (you don’t want them too moist). Start with a 1/2 tbsp and increase as needed.
4. Press into loaf pan evenly and chill while preparing the chocolate topping.
5.  For the topping, mix all ingredients in a small bowl until well incorporated and smooth. Spoon the chocolate topping over the cherry bars and refrigerate until hardened. (I also had a few chopped cashew pieces leftover that I threw into the topping so I didn’t waste them…those are the little chunks you may see in the topping).
6. Cut into squares and enjoy!

*if you can not find freeze dried cherries, dried cherries could be subbed but you will find you may need less liquid.

**TIP: To melt coconut oil and coconut butter, I add the oil/butter to a small oven-safe ramekin and let sit in a 180 – 200F heated toaster oven for several minutes until it’s melted.

I stored these bars in the refrigerator…but they didn’t last long at all!

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17 thoughts on “No-Bake Chocolate Covered Cherry Bars

  1. I would love to make this with raspberries or strawberries! One day I’m going to live in a place where I can actually buy stuff for baking (I’ve now collected everything I need for the sugar cookies, by the way! Tomorrow is the day. :)). It’ll be fantastic. And then I will make these bars and be so happy.

    This recipe is really creative! Way better than chocolate covered strawberries. You should be really proud of yourself. And they look really yummy!

    • Thanks so much! 🙂 You made me smile! Obtaining some of the ingredients is definitely a challenge living out of the country like you do – maybe I need to make more goodies that aren’t so hard to gather ingredients for?
      I need to try a raspberry or strawberry version of these…maybe I will give them a go with dried fruit to see how they turn out too, that would be more accessible to you! 🙂

      • No, you should definitely make the recipes that you have the ingredients for! You can’t worry about what ingredients are available elsewhere or you’ll go crazy.

        Dried berries (except cranberries) definitely aren’t accessible here. I ordered some online last week but they were $20 a pound. So that would make these the most expensive bars ever. 🙂

        A cranberry version I could do! But they’d be super super sweet because I can only find sweetened dried cranberries. Oh well. I have your sugar cookies to keep me happy!

      • Whoa – $20 a pound!!!! that’s crazy expensive…I’d just wait until you get back to the states for these bars!
        I bet a cranberry version would be really good too though- I love dried cranberries! I would eliminate the added sweetener in that case though, otherwise you are right, they would be super sweet!

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    • Great question! I would love to try and make this bar with frozen cherries, but I assume you would need to add more dry ingredients to help soak up the liquid? Or maybe cook them down into a compote first? I would love to hear how it turns out if you give it a go!

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