Yield: 16

Filling:
12 oz. pitted tart cherries (weighed after pitting)
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp. coconut sugar
Pinch of sea salt
3 Tbsp. chia seeds
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Crust:
2 cups almond flour
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Topping:
3/4 cup walnuts
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
Generous pinch of sea salt

1. Make filling: Place cherries, maple syrup, coconut sugar and salt in a pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes, until juices have released and fruit is very soft. Mash with a fork to break up cherries into a chunky jam consistency. Stir in chia seeds and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 5 minutes longer (mixture will thicken more as it cools). Transfer to a bowl, stir in vanilla and let cool, then cover and refrigerate.
2. Preheat oven to 350ºF; line an 8-inch square pan with foil and mist foil with cooking spray (I use Chosen Foods avocado oil spray). In a food processor, combine all crust ingredients plus 1 Tbsp. water and pulse until mixture comes together as a dough. Press evenly into pan. Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden. Let cool.
3. While crust is baking, make topping: Place all ingredients in food processor (no need to clean it after crust) and pulse until combined and crumbly. 
4. Carefully spread cherry filling evenly over crust, sprinkle with topping and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until filling bubbles and topping is golden. Let cool completely on a wire rack, then cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting into bars. (You can eat it sooner, but it will be very soft and more like a crumble than bars. Not a bad thing, just a bit messier and would require a fork.)

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