Name your favorite ice cream flavor…go! Okay, I’ll admit that I have a hard time narrowing mine down to just one. But I do know that whenever there’s some sort of chocolate-cherry option available, I’m going for it (Cherry Garcia, anyone?). There’s just something about that sweet and tart combo that’s always a winner.
While this recipe is obviously not ice cream, the combination of chocolate, cherries and almonds also makes for one dang good granola. Regardless of the flavors you choose, granola is truly the simplest baked good to whip up at home. Every time I make a batch, I’m always astonished that I didn’t start making my own sooner.
And while there are many granola brands out there that I love, it can be difficult to find varieties that don’t include tons of added sugar, gluten, preservatives or other junk. Taking a little time to throw some together in my own kitchen allows me to know exactly what ingredients are included. Plus, it encourages me to get creative!
As you can see from all of my granola recipes, I love to mix it up when it comes to flavors, but I always stick to a few, key additions to get that perfect batch every time. Check out all of my recipes here for some more quick and easy baking inspiration.
For this version, gluten-free rolled oats work perfectly. Simply mix them together with chopped, raw almonds, dark chocolate chunks, unsweetened cherries and a few other pantry staples. That’s it! Allow the mixture to bake until golden brown, while your kitchen begins to smell like heaven.
As for the cherries specifically, dried are my favorites not only for their sourness and chew (I’m all about that texture) but also due to their surprising health benefits. Cherries are filled with essential nutrients, anti-inflammatory properties and are proven to aid in a restful night’s sleep. Plus, they’re a great immune booster to help beat that cold any time of year!
If you’re looking to enjoy them (both fresh and dried) in even more delicious and easy recipes, check out my Cherry Blueberry Crumble Bars, Caro’s No-Bake Cookies, and Vegan Pistachio Cherry Cheesecake Bars. Take advantage now while those fresh cherries are still in season!
When using dried fruit of any sort, though, just make sure to check the ingredients, as I’ve found that many include added sweeteners and preservatives. Cherries especially can be hard to find without any additional junk, but I was actually able to get my hands on some at Trader Joe’s. Because of the maple syrup and chocolate in this recipe, you simply don’t need any additional sugar. Also, it’s smart to get into the habit of checking labels for those sneaky ingredients.
As for the other key components in this recipe, almonds are one of my favorites, because they’re the epitome of a health nut and can be purchased in bulk. Plus, they’re loaded with antioxidants, are high in vitamin E, help control blood sugar and pressure and can even lower cholesterol.
The dark chocolate is also a must, of course. It’s my all-time favorite superfood that provides soluble fiber to aid in digestion and is packed with antioxidants and essential minerals including iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, zinc and selenium. All the more reason to enjoy, am I right?
As this flavor combo is one of my personal favorites, it was a no brainer to transform it into an easy, delicious granola. Go right ahead and sprinkle on yogurt, enjoy with almond milk or grab by the handful. Happy baking, friends!
- 2 cups gluten free rolled oats (I used The Soulfull Project Hearty Grains & Seeds blend)
- 1 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
- 1 cup dried, unsweetened cherries
- 1 cup dark chocolate chunks
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp pink Himalayan salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
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