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granola bars drizzled with chocolate

Chewy Dark Chocolate Cherry Protein Granola Bars with Chia Seeds

Chewy protein-packed granola bars made with almond butter, protein powder, dark chocolate and cherries! These gluten-free and vegan-friendly bars are the perfect snack or breakfast.
Course Bars, Breakfast, Gluten Free, Granola, Healthy, Snacks
Keyword protein granola bars
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Calories 195 kcal
Author Monique Volz of Ambitious Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup natural chunky or creamy almond butter (or peanut butter)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cup quick oats (gluten free, if desired)
  • 1 cup Puffed Millet (see notes for other options)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup your favorite vanilla protein powder
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 2.5 ounces dark chocolate bar, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line 8x8 inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine almond butter, maple syrup and vanilla until smooth and well combined. 
  3. Stir in oats, millet, salt and protein powder until well-coated, thick, and sticky. Add in almond milk and stir again. 
  4. Fold in cherries, 1/4 cup of chopped chocolate, and chia seeds. (You'll use the rest of the chocolate for the drizzle.)
  5. Pour mixture into prepared pan and use a spatula to evenly spread. Next you'll have to use your hand to press the mixture down VERY firmly. This will help to ensure that the bars stick together well. 
  6. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.
  7. To make chocolate drizzle: melt chocolate and coconut oil in a small saucepan over very low heat. Stir until smooth. 
  8. Drizzle the chocolate over the bars, then refrigerate for 30 minutes so that chocolate can harden. 
  9. Cut into 10 bars. You can also keep them at room temperature or individually wrap & freeze. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

If you would like to reduce the calories and/or sugar, then you have a few options: You can use PB2 and sugar free maple syrup. I've actually tried it this way and they come out pretty darn tasty! If you use sugar free maple syrup, each bar only has around 5g of sugar.

Feel free to use your favorite nut butter in place of the almond butter.

Instead of pure maple syrup, you can use sugar free maple syrup, honey, or agave. Please note that honey is not vegan.

If you do not have access to puffed millet, then free free to substitute brown rice crisps, puffed rice, regular rice krispies, quinoa, or even chex. I found my puffed millet in the cereal section at Whole Foods.

If you are trying to make these vegan or gluten free, ensure that all of your ingredients fall into your respective dietary guidelines. For instance, make sure the dark chocolate is vegan.

You can sub any dried fruit you'd like. Also feel free to add a handful of chopped nuts, coconut, or more chocolate!

Nutrition Facts
Chewy Dark Chocolate Cherry Protein Granola Bars with Chia Seeds
Amount Per Serving (1 bar)
Calories 195 Calories from Fat 48
% Daily Value*
Fat 5.3g8%
Carbohydrates 23.3g8%
Fiber 3.7g15%
Sugar 10g11%
Protein 8.3g17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.