Cherry, Coconut, Carob Chip Crumble Bars

Crumble topped desserts sure are delicious, but they aren’t the healthiest for you. This gluten-free recipe attempts to make crumble bars healthier by replacing white sugar with a brown sugar, honey combination and chocolate chips with carob chips. If you aren’t familiar with carob, it is very similar to cocoa. Both grow on trees, are harvested and then ground into a fine powder that is used to make chocolate. Carob chips are full of antioxidants and calcium, and do not contain caffeine like regular cocoa chips. The unique blend of cherry, coconut and carob really takes this recipe to the next level. Stop by your local farmers market and snag some fresh cherries while they are in season!

Photo Credit: Helen Carlisle, A Healthier Michigan

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For the crumble topping

  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cups oat
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • ¾ cup unsweetened coconut, shredded
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 7oz butter, cut into cubes

For the filling

  • 12oz tart cherries, pitted (about 2 ½ cups)
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • ½ cup carob chips or dark chocolate chips

Cherry, Coconut, Carob Chip Crumble Bars

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 7in X 11in rectangular baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, oats, flour, shredded coconut, salt and baking powder. Add butter and cut it in until crumbly (you can use a pastry cutter or two knives).
3. Add half of the crumble mixture in the prepared baking dish and press it down firmly on the bottom with the palm of your hands. Set aside while you prepare the filling.
4. Add cherries, water and honey in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring from occasionally.
5. Transfer mixture to a blender and process until smooth. Transfer back into the saucepan.
6. In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch with ½ cup of water and pour into cherry filling. Heat over medium-high heat and whisk constantly until it thickens, about 1 minute.
7. Turn off the heat and while it's still hot, spread over the first layer of oat mixture. Make sure all the oats are covered. Cool slightly then top with the carob chips and remaining oats. Press lightly with your hands to create an even surface.
8. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until light brown. Remove from the oven and cool before cutting into squares with a knife.
9. Serve and enjoy!

Nurtional Analysis:
• Calories 259.1
• Total Fat 3.3 g
• Saturated Fat 1.6 g
• Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
• Monounsaturated Fat 0.4 g
• Cholesterol 3.1 mg
• Sodium 34.0 mg
• Potassium 22.4 mg
• Total Carbohydrate 56.1 g
• Dietary Fiber 1.2 g
• Sugars 5.2 g
• Protein 0.9 g
• Vitamin A 0.9 %
• Vitamin B- 120 %
• Vitamin B- 60.2 %
• Vitamin C 0.7 %
• Vitamin E 2.5 %
• Calcium 1.3 %
• Copper 1.8 %
• Folate 0.1 %
• Iron 2.7 %
• Magnesium 2 %
• Manganese 2 %
• Niacin 0.1 %
• Pantothenic Acid 0.1 %
• Phosphorus 1.1 %
• Riboflavin 0.2 %
• Selenium 2.2 %
• Thiamin 0.1 %
• Zinc 0.3 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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