I had a big bag of dried cherries and was playing around with different uses for them, and I was surprised at how tasty these bars are. I started with my bare-bones larabar recipe, added cherries instead of dates, and then added chia seeds and rolled oats.
The chia seeds are there for a nutritional boost, while the oats add a nice subtle flavor, plus a little bulk. I was initially hesitant to use oats without cooking them, but it turns out that rolled oats are steamed, so they’re not actually raw, and many people eat them without ill effects.
For my first batch, I just blended all of the ingredients at once. However, many chia seeds remained whole. (I add whole chia seeds to smoothies and they blend up fine, but this is much thicker and blends for a shorter time.) It wasn’t a big deal, but seeds would get stuck in your teeth, and ground chia seeds are more nutritionally available than whole ones. The easy solution is to blend the chia seeds before adding the other ingredients.
I put the cherries above the chia and cashews so that they stick to the container less. Then the oats go on top so they blend less.
¼ cup chia seeds (40g)
1⅛ cup cashews (150g)
pinch of salt
1 cup dried cherries (150g)
⅔ cup rolled oats (70g)
Makes about 8 bars. (Batch size is for 3″ blade Vitamix container.)
First blend the chia seeds alone for a few seconds on high. Some of the chia meal will stick to the upper walls of the container. You can tap the container to knock some of it down, or use a spatula to push down more of it. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend on high, using the tamper to push the corners down when an air pocket forms. (You can tell because the motor will make a high-pitched whine.) Stop blending as soon as it comes together and darkens. If you over blend, it will get stickier.
In the past I put it directly from the container onto waxed paper, but sometimes it’s warm enough that it melts the wax and sticks. So now I press it into a brownie pan, chill it in the fridge, pop it out onto a cutting board, and then slice it into bars. I wrap the chilled bars in waxed paper and then store them in the freezer.
You can run a clean-out blend of anything that would benefit from the sweet nut mixture, so that you don’t have to worry about wasting any residue that gets stuck below the blades. There may be a bit that stays stuck under the blades even after a clean-out blend. The easiest way to get it out is to soak the container for 30–60 minutes, and then run a cleaning cycle with soapy water.
The chia seeds add some fat, which makes these a bit more oily than the past larabars. I think it makes the mixture slide out of the container more easily. I eat them from the wax paper so that my hands don’t get greasy, and I think the extra fat adds to the mouthfeel.
Between the dried fruit, oats, and chia seeds, it’s good to enjoy these with some water. They make a perfect snack for outings.