I discovered the amazing combination of sour cherries and dark chocolate after trying Green & Black’s organic cherry chocolate. Cherry chocolate is not something I would have normally chosen as I used to associate preserved cherries with the fluorescent glacé ones that went into christmas cakes. Luckily the sour cherries in Green & Black’s are nothing of the sort, they’re a dark crimson colour and have a wonderful tart flavour (for a raw version of this sour cherry chocolate click here).
Recently I was excited to find some dried cherries in our local whole foods store and I immediately thought I have to make something with these! To me, the other ingredient that sings out to be combined with sour cherries and dark chocolate is moist coconut, aka a Cherry Ripe bars! So I thought it would be fun to make a healthy version of the classic Cadbury “Cherry Ripe” bar, that’s dairy, refined sugar, preservative and additive free.
I found two great dried cherry options, ROAR organic dried sour cherries and Ceres organics apple sweetened dried cherries. For the recipe below I went with the ROAR version as they were super sour and I liked the contrast, but either would work well.
After a couple of recipe attempts which resulted in not enough chocolate, too much chocolate, too wet filling, wrong colour filling… too much taste testing… I finally came up with the winning combination!
The best thing about these “Cherry Ripe” bars is they contain no gluten, dairy, refined sugar, additives or preservatives, and while they are definitely less sweet that the original, I think they taste much better! If you can’t find sour cherries in your local food store, simply substitute in more dried cranberries and vice versa. These homemade cherry ripe bars will keep well in the fridge for a couple of weeks and freeze well. Enjoy!
Home Made “Cherry Ripe” Bars
Serves: makes approximately 16 bars
Prep time: 30 minutes Chilling time: 30 minutes
1 cup of desiccated coconut
2 Tbsp coconut oil, liquid form
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp freeze dried raspberry powder
1/2 cup dried sour cherries
1/4 cup dried cranberries (apple sweetened)
pinch of himalayan pink salt
200g dark chocolate (70%, dairy free)
Freeze dried raspberries for decoration
Line a small tin (I used 18cm x 30cm) with baking paper.
Melt the dark chocolate by placing it in a heat proof bowl set over a pan of boiling water. Ensure the bowl doesn’t touch the water to avoid overheating the chocolate.
If using really dried cherries such as ROAR, start by soaking them in warm water for 10 minutes or so until they plump up. Then pour off the water and drain well.
Place all the remaining ingredients including the cherries in a food processor and blend until well combined. The mixture should be slightly sticky and hold together when pressed. If too wet, add a little more dried coconut.
Spread half the melted chocolate over the bottom of the lined tin and place in the fridge or freezer to set – approximately 5-10 minutes. Once the chocolate is just firm to touch remove from the fridge and spread the cherry mixture over evenly. Press down well. Pour the remaining chocolate on top and spread evenly with a spoon or palate knife.
Sprinkle over crushed freeze dried raspberries to decorate and return the slice to the fridge to set, approximately 10-20 minutes. When the chocolate is firm, remove from the fridge and slice into bars using a hot, dry knife.
Store in a sealed container in the fridge.