Love and Olive Oil

Cherry Almond Nib Granola Bars

Cherry Almond Nib Granola Bars

Granola bars sound so terribly dull and boring. Not nearly glamorous enough for these fine specimens.

Toasted oats folded with sweet honey and brown sugar, and studded with dried tart cherries, cocoa nibs, and slivered almonds with a bittersweet chocolate drizzle: of what these beautiful bars are made.

I’d say they are worthy of a much more lucrative title. Not to mention proper grammar.

Cherry Almond Nib Granola Bars

I’d call these no-bake, because technically the bars themselves need no baking to take their shape. But a brief toasting of the oats and nuts exclude it from such a designation, although I guess I could call them not-baked-just-toasted.

Anywho, these bars are my attempt at a snacking solution. I don’t know about you, but I seem to get hungry in 3 or 4 hour increments. And if I wait too long between breakfast and lunch, or especially between lunch and dinner, I get shaky and irritable and all-around cranky. So I usually grab a handful of whatever sweet bites happen to be open, usually Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups or sea salt and cocoa almonds or Hershey’s mint truffle kisses.

Not a bad thing, necessarily, but I wish my snacks had a bit more substance and a bit less sugar.

Since I’m never (ever) going to be the type to grab a handful of baby carrots as a snack, these bars are my compromise to myself. With oats and nuts and dried fruit, they’re more substantial than pure chocolate. But they also appease my sweet-tooth and chocoholic-tendencies with honey, cocoa nibs, and a swirl of chocolate.

That’s what I call a win-win.

Cherry Almond Nib Granola Bars

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2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2/3 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup cocao nibs
1/2 cup dried tart cherries, coarsely chopped
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted (optional, for drizzling)


Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8-by-8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a small overhang on two sides.

In a large bowl, stir together oats, almonds, and coconut until evenly distributed. Spread onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once part way through baking, until oats are toasted and fragrant and coconut is lightly browned. Cool slightly and return to bowl.

Combine honey, butter, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in almond extract. Pour over oat mixture and stir until evenly coated. Stir in cocoa nibs and dried cherries.

Press granola mixture into prepared pan, firmly pressing into place. Chill until set, at least 2 hours. Remove from pan using parchment paper to lift it out of the pan. Transfer to a cutting board and cut in half crosswise, then into 12 rectangular bars. Drizzle with melted chocolate, if desired.

Granola bars will keep, layered between parchment or waxed paper in an airtight container for up to one week.

All images and text © / Love & Olive Oil

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  1. How delicious do these look?!
    I’m constantly trying to find recipes like this that will be filling, transport well, and are tasty for my hubby while he’s at work…definitely giving them a try for next week!
    Thanks for sharing:)

  2. I made these today and they are fantastic, and so versatile – I am already planning variations with different fruits and nuts. Thank you for the recipe.

  3. what a fun idea to do your bars yourself!! Love the pics in your blog, the food lokks felicious!!!!

  4. This is an amazing recipe! I have made granola bars before, a baked version, which were nice enough, but your no-bake surpasses them by far. This recipe really duplicates the “chewy bars” out there on the market, and I’ll bet they are much healthier, too! On behalf of my entire family (and several friends..) thanks for sharing.

  5. What are cocoa nibs? I have heard of them, but never know what they are…
    Could I use mini chocolate chips instead?

    • Cocao nibs are basically pieces of cocao beans. They have a slightly chocolatey flavor and are crunchy much like a nut or a coffee bean. You could certainly use chocolate chips but it’d be an entirely different effect, still good though!

  6. So excited to make this recipe! I’m getting back to my diet, er, lifestyle change and it requires regular healthy snacks. Love that these only use 1/4 cup of butter!

  7. These look delicious! I am a terrible baker (more lazy and hate measuring) and this is right up my alley.

  8. Hello there,

    I found ur blog few days ago and was very happy, cause the pics and the recipes are amazing. I also like this cherry almond bars, cause the recipe is very variable and it can be used for different combinations. Thank u for sharing!

    Nice regards!

  9. mmmm. i’ve been eating alot of granola bars lately. the ones I like are kinda pricey going to try and make my own now. thanks for the recipe!

  10. No way that chocolate drizzle is real! It’s so perfect. My drizzles are never that good!

  11. These granola bars are in no way boring! I’m so over my husband repeatedly asking for the SAME Fiber One oat and chocolate over and over again – I need a change and this is my ticket. Gorgeous.

  12. I like to eat every two hours so these work for me!

  13. I am SO bookmarking these! Gorgeous, wholesome (enough anyway) and filled with my two favorite things – cherries and chocolate! Well done – thanks for sharing!

  14. Wow! These look amazing. I love granola bars. I will be making these at home very soon. Please check out the food blog I have just started Thanks!

  15. These look so good! I really need to start homemaking granola bars. I feel like so many of the store bought kinds taste like sawdust even if they are organic!

    xx Kait

  16. these look great!

    Jessica from How Sweet Eats recently made a dish with chocolate covered sunflower seeds, and I think those would be a great, colorful addition to these bars. great share! xx

  17. Making my own granola bars is on my foodie New Years list this time around. They just HAVE to be healthier than the store bought ones! Maybe a bit more difficult to transport around though :) Thanks for the great option!

  18. Oh, these look AMAZING! I’m hooked, hooked, hooked on dried cherries – even put them in my breakfast oatmeal.

    And a peanut butter version just sounds heavenly.

  19. Dark chocolate and cherry are such a great combo! You could look at these as a not-so-healthy granola bar, or as a super-healthy cherry ripe! I choose the latter.

  20. These look like the perfect snack to me! They remind me of those pre packaged bars that were always in my lunch as a kid (these are just probably better).

  21. Are you kidding? Granola bars sound amazing tome–especially when they’re customizable, like these are! I love the idea of a crunchy cacao nib in a granola bar. :)

  22. i love how perfect your drizzles are!

  23. Gorgeous granola bars, Lindsay! And gorgeous blog work – I’ve been to three blogs today who have recently just unveiled your gorgeous work on them :) Three in 1 day over and beyond the usual ones I see. You’re a busy, busy woman!

  24. Could you substitute dried cranberries? And what could you substitute for the coconut? Or can I just leave that out?

  25. That drizzle has me droolin! We have the best tart dried cherries here in WI, so I can imagine they would be wonderful in these :)

  26. I totally agree with you on the carrots. I bought a huge bag of baby carrots last month to attempt that type of snacking, lets just say it hasn’t gone well. These on the other hand are great. I have always thought about making granola bars, just never got to it. This may be my day, thanks!

  27. granola bars sounding boring – ain’t that the truth! but not when you make them as beautiful as yours. I have a hard time shooting granola bars without them looking… well, boring. I love the cherries and perfected chocolate drizzle Lindsay!

  28. Ummm, these look PERfect!! I adore homemade granola bars. Love that drizzle!

  29. You are speaking my language here. I am know to hide the good chocolates from the boyfriend too.

    Ps @ amber – what are King Arthur flour’s jammy bits?

  30. These look really awesome. I am wondering if you have a suggestion for replacing the cherries. I have an allergy.

  31. Granola bars are my go to snack foods, I always pack one in my handbag for when I’m running errands. I adore the tart dried cherries and the cocoa nibs in these bars, delish!

  32. Cherry and chocolate is such a great combination. I have the same snacking habits as you, thought right now it’s Birthday Cake Oreos that are open and beckoning..

    That being said, I’d much rather grab one of these! I’m wondering how they’d be with a little peanut butter and King Arthur Flour jammy bits too.

    • The basic recipe is super flexible and could be adapted so many ways (in fact, I adapted this one from my own cookie dough granola bar recipe from my book!) I LOVE the idea of a peanut butter version!

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