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Chocolate and Cherry Chunks

November 5, 2010

Hello, hello!

Many of my favorite bloggers are living it up right now in San Francisco for the Foodbuzz Festival.  Alas, I lacked the time + money to attend this year…maybe in another 12 months? Sigh.

To console myself, I got to baking this afternoon.  Whenever I’m feeling bummed out, I find that chocolate has a way of making things look a little…brighter.

I know I’ve been posting a lot of these “oat square” recipes lately, and I apologize.  Surely they’re getting repetitive! But—I’m having so much fun experimenting with different flavors!  This afternoon, I hit a real winner:

Chocolate Cherry Oat Squares


2 cups oats

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped

1/3 cup hot water

5 tbsp. melted butter (or melted vegan butter spread—I used Earth Balance)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, combine chopped cherries and warm water and allow to sit for about 5 minutes. 

While cherries are soaking, combine all other ingredients.  Add cherries, plus their soaking liquid, and mix well.

Transfer batter to an 8×8 baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  With clean hands or a spatula, press the batter down to form an evenly distributed layer. 

Bake for 25 minutes, then remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Using a spatula, lift the square from the pan and carefully transfer to a cutting surface, using a knife to cut into individual squares.  Mine made 20 squares total.


These squares are vegan if you use Earth Balance, and with 20 squares total, they only have 90 calories and 3 fat grams a piece! Not too shabby!

They were a little hard to cut into squares—you can see that mine are kind of misshapen.  I didn’t have a problem “trimming” the edges so that they were a little more uniform…and eating the excess, of course.  🙂

Here are some more pictures of the process:

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Cherries soaking:

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DSC_0012 (76) 


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While I was baking, Ryan was up in State College at a meeting.  I asked him to stop at the Asian market for me, hoping on a whim that he might be able to find some specialty ingredients that I haven’t been able to find here. 

He came home with…all of it!

DSC_0002 (121) 

Barley tea, daikon radish, lotus root, and KABOCHA!!! I’ve been reading about kabocha squash for months now…maybe years?!?  People go crazy for it in the blogosphere, but I’ve never been able to find it…until now! Heather tipped me off to check at the Asian market…thanks, Heather!!

I can’t wait to have fun with these new ingredients!

Ryan also came home toting a grocery bag full of ingredients to cook a special dinner for me tonight.  What a sweet guy!

I think he just wants to write another guest post, but he swears that’s not true.  😉

We’ll see what he cooks up!

Have a great Friday night!

16 Comments leave one →
  1. November 5, 2010 9:05 pm

    I tried barley tea for the first time a couple of weeks ago…very grain tasting. I liked it, but it caught me off guard. I have never had kabocha, but I think I would like it. It looks a lot like the buttercup squash I love so much! Have fun keeping busy! Your oat squares look yummy!

    • November 5, 2010 9:13 pm

      Yeah, I’m drinking some right now, and it kind of tastes like burnt popcorn to me, but not in a bad way…if that makes ANY sense 🙂

  2. November 5, 2010 9:09 pm

    No need to apologize. These sound amazing!

  3. November 5, 2010 9:11 pm

    Look great! I know my twin sis is there in San Fran with all the great food bloggers, I could not go with her this year 😦 maybe next year. ~Lori

  4. November 5, 2010 10:03 pm

    I’m missing FoodBuzz, too! Jealousy may compel me to bake oatmeal cookies tonight. 🙂

  5. November 5, 2010 11:50 pm

    Ooh, I’ll be curious to see what you do with the daikon. I have 2 to use up.

    Wish I was going to Foodbuzz, too. Can you make it to Fitbloggin’ this spring?! 😀

  6. November 6, 2010 12:43 am

    Oh yay on the kabocha find! So glad you found it. I really think you’re going to like it. Can’t wait to see what you do with it. I would actually suggest just roasting it plain just to taste it. It really needs nothing in my opinion.

  7. November 6, 2010 12:06 pm

    DO NOT apologize for those amazing oat squares. I haven’t been able to find kabocha either, let us know how you like it!

  8. November 6, 2010 1:29 pm

    The squares look so tasty! I love dried cherries- I toss them in my granola all the time. What a man! I hope the dinner he makes is totally delicious.

  9. November 6, 2010 1:59 pm

    Oats rock my socks off. Last night, I made my first batch of granola bars that could be called bars, mainly because they didn’t fall apart when held. Chocolate and cherries sound great together.

    —I adore lotus root! I’ve been wanting to cook with a daikon radish for the longest time, though…and never heard of kabocha.

  10. November 6, 2010 4:27 pm

    Glad to hear that I’m not the only one who isnt at the the foodbuzz festival (though.. it’s still sad, isn’t it?). I distracted myself in the kitchen as well ;).
    Those oat squares look droolworthy!!
    We don’t have lotus root over here – not even at Asian markets. Too bad because they’re so pretty when sliced!

  11. November 6, 2010 4:54 pm

    these look amazing…and so easy! and nothing complicated in terms of ingredients..thanks for the recipe and idea!


  12. Ayla permalink
    November 6, 2010 9:39 pm

    Keep bringing on the oat squares because they look delicious. Chocolate cherry? Yes, please!

    You managed to find the Kabocha squash at an Asian specialty market? Maybe I’ll try to find one.. because I haven’t seen that type of squash anywhere! Just acorn, butternut and spaghetti.

  13. November 7, 2010 12:13 am

    I would DIE if Nick walked through the doors with food to prepare! Seriously, he never cooks. Good for Ryan!
    We were just discussing (at work) how whenever we are lonely or sad we always bake. It’s true, there is something about it that just lifts our spirits! These cookies/squares sound marvelous.

  14. November 8, 2010 9:35 pm

    Ohh, these oat squares look awesome! I am really impressed with your photos- excellent photography!

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