Happy Monday, folks! As of next week, you will be seeing a lot more of me on the blog and I’m super excited to be writing this post on my shiny new laptop to kickstart this next chapter.
For a while now, I’ve been wanting to spend more time and energy in growing this blog. Having only the weekend and an odd weeknight to bake, cook, shoot and write gets stressful and I sometimes have to force myself to get up and make something just to be able to post during the week. I enjoy being a blogger far too much to let it become a chore, so I knew there had to be a way to create more time to be one.
So, I will be moving from being a full-time copywriter to a part-time one and devoting the rest of the time right here on The Desserted Girl. You can expect more posts, more experiments with photography and more travel this year!
While that happens, here are some insanely good cherry chocolate bars for you to make right now.
Chewy and crunchy at once, with a nutty wholewheat and oat base, filled with sweet, jammy roasted cherries, topped with milk chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips and more of the base crumbled up as a sort of streusel topping. One bite, and you won’t know what to be thrilled about first. Those fabulous cherry bits, all tangy and sugary, or the chocolate that goes so, so well with then, or that buttery base which is healthy, we say, because oats.
I first came across these bars on The Whole Bite and thought the idea was sheer genius. Roasted cherries?! With chocolate? Yes, please. As I sat pondering the idea, some tweaks came to mind. What if we mixed up two different kinds of chocolate? Subbed in some wholewheat flour along with the regular flour? Added some flaked almonds on top because how could that ever be a bad thing?
I also discovered that the base was thinner than I wanted, so instead of dividing the mixture equally for the crust and base, I added a little more to the base and left the crust as more of a crumble, so that all the gooey cherry chocolate fun would show through.
These bars take a little bit of prep what with all the cherry pitting and roasting and mixing up of the rest of it, but it’s nothing unachievable. Try not to spill any baking soda or flour all over your kitchen, and it will probably help 🙂
The flavour combinations are unbelievable and in hindsight, even using only wholewheat flour instead of a mixture of that and regular flour, would have worked great. Feel free to use more cherries and less chocolate if that’s the kind of thing you’re into. I wouldn’t normally say this, but even skipping the chocolate wouldn’t be entirely blasphemous. Let it be known that I finally said that.
The bars need to be kept chilled in hot climates, because the chocolate will melt and make it super hard to slice them. I chilled these overnight after baking and it didn’t do any harm. Feel free to reheat them in the microwave if you want some gooeyness. In all probability, they will be gone by the time you’ve made a decision 🙂
I apologise for the strange light in these photos, the rare monsoon sun had no idea which way it wanted to go or how long it wanted to stay. On the bright side, how fabulous is the weather these days!
This is a good time to switch on the oven. Get baking!
- 500 gms fresh cherries, pitted and halved (use up to 700 gms for a higher cherry to chocolate ratio)
- 1 to 2 tbsps caster sugar, depending on sweetness of cherries
- 170 gms butter (3/4 cup; if using unsalted butter, add ¼ tsp salt to the flour)
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 tsps vanilla extract
- ½ cup regular flour
- ½ cup wholewheat flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 and ½ cup oats, I used instant oats
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- ½ cup milk chocolate chips
- Handful of flaked almonds, optional
- Preheat the oven to 200 C.
- On a baking tray, arrange the cherries in a single layer and sprinkle the caster sugar evenly all over them.
- Bake the cherries for 10 minutes, until soft and some juices have begun to seep out.
- While the cherries are cooking, get started on the crust. Sift the flours, baking soda and salt, if using, Set aside.
- Melt the butter and add to a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, vanilla, sifted flour mixture and the oats. You should have a thick, cookie dough like mixture.
- Lightly grease and line an 8x8 baking pan with baking paper, leaving an overhang on two parallel sides. Tip a little over half the crust mixture into the pan and press down evenly with your fingertips. Leave the rest of the crust mixture for later.
- Remove the cherries from the oven and transfer to a bowl.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 175 C and pop the crust in. Bake the crust for 10 minutes until lightly browned on the sides and slightly puffed. Remove from the oven.
- Mash the roasted cherries with your fingertips or a fork until sort of jammy. A few large chunks of cherries are good.
- Top the baked crust with the mashed cherries, spreading them out evenly. Sprinkle on ¾th of the chocolate chips.
- Finally, crumble the remaining crust over the top, finish with the rest of the chocolate chips and flaked almonds and bake for 10 minutes until golden-brown on the top.
- Allow to cool before lifting out with the baking paper and slicing. I recommend chilling the bars after baking, especially in hot countries and then slicing.
*If you don't have chocolate chips, use chopped up dark/milk chocolate instead.