Chocolate Cherry Oat Squares

I’ve been somewhat enamoured with cherries since a neighbour brought us a pail of the bright red jewels from their tree last summer. We’ve since planted a few little cherry trees in our yard, and are anxious to see if they’ve survived this more-cruel-than-usual-winter. So when I was given a big ziplock of frozen cherries a few weeks ago (thanks Becky!), this recipe quickly came to mind. The original recipe from Elly Says Opa uses nutella spread and cherry jam, neither of which are things I usually have on hand, and i’ve been wanting to try out chia seeds as a fruit-thickener, so I made a few adaptations. The resulting squares hold together surprisingly well, but are a bit too crumbly to eat with your hands (unless you’re okay with a bit of a mess…which I am!). The flavour combinations are not entirely original, but amazingly delicious. If you happen to find yourself with some cherries on hand, they’re certainly worth a try!

 

Ingredients:

 

1/2 cup softened butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

 

1 cup flour

1 1/2 + 1/4 cup Rolled Naked Oats

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts

 

3/4 cup chocolate chips (or equivalent amount of sweetened chocolate)

2 tbsp butter

1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts

 

2/3 cup cherries (fresh or thawed-from-frozen)

3 tbsp chia seeds

 

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9″ square cake pan.

 

Cream the butter and sugars together, and add the egg and vanilla, stirring until smooth.

 

Add the flour, 1 1/2 cups Rolled Naked Oats, baking powder, and salt.

 

Press 2/3 of this mixture into the bottom of the cake pan.  Add the remaining 1/4 cup rolled oats and 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts to the flour mixture that is left in the bowl, so that it is now quite crumbly.  Set this aside, as it will be used for the top layer.

 

In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate and butter over a low temperature.  Add 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, and spread the chocolate-y goodness over the bottom layer.

 

Pit your cherries, keeping all the juice together with the fruit.  Add the chia seeds, and let them sit together for about 10 minutes until the chia seeds have absorbed most of the liquid, and the resulting ‘jam’ is nice and thick.  Spread the cherries over the chocolate mixture.

 

Finally, crumble the last of the flour mixture over the cherries, and press down gently.

 

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the crumbs are just starting to turn golden brown.  Cool for at least an hour before slicing into squares.

 

ch cherry oat squares

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