Jelly Toast

chocolate cherry oat bites

chocolate cherry oat balls_Emily Caruso_Jelly Toast-0088Having a child with a peanut allergy can be a challenging thing. It’s not that it has to be a big deal, it just takes a little more thought when trying to whip up treats and snacks – especially snacks that traditionally include nuts. While the Baby is allergic to only peanuts, we follow recommendation of her allergist to keep her away from all nuts as well as items that are processed with peanuts, for fear of cross-contamination. Her peanut allergy is strong enough to warrant the concern.

Well, I’ve been having a little love affair with LARABARs (specifically the Cherry Pie) lately, wanted to try to make my own at home. The problem is, I don’t like making snacks – or anything that could even masquerade as a treat – unless I can give it to the Baby, too. It breaks my heart to tell her I made a scrumptious treat that everyone can eat but her. So, I really just avoid it whenever possible.On occasion, I will make something containing nuts (although never peanuts) and then make a similar nut-free version. Unfortunately, one great substitute for nuts are seeds, such as pumpkin or sunflower. I say that this is unfortunate because it is extremely difficult to find seeds that aren’t processed with nuts! In these parts, every package or label on the bulk food bins say ‘processed in a plant that processes peanuts, tree nuts..etc.’. This is insanely frustrating when you are buying these items for the sole purpose of avoiding nuts. Frustrating, I tell ya.

Recently, I have come across a few online resources that carry peanut free seeds and nuts: Peanut Free Planet and Gerbs Gourmet Seeds. I am in the process of ordering pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds in order to make some awesome, nut free granola. I am excited to have these resources, especially now that the holidays are approaching and my baking will ramp up a bit.

Anyway, back to the LARABARs. I wanted to make some, but the bulk of the bar is made up from some type of nut, typically cashews, and while I can keep cashews in the house, I can’t feed them to the Baby. So, I set out to come up with a similar LARABAR style treat that my kids could enjoy.

And with my order of pumpkin and sunflower seeds yet to arrive from Gerbs, I turned to my trusty old fashioned rolled oats and was beyond pleased with the results. They gave great body and texture to these little snack bites. I had some tart dried cherries on hand and knew that a chocolate cherry version would be amazing. My kiddos gobbled up these Chocolate Cherry Oat Snacks and kept asking for more. Plus, I felt good about feeding them a little snack that tasted like a dessert but that was made with great, wholesome ingredients. Plus, they are crazy easy to put together.

I will most likely be experimenting with many more flavor combinations, and sharing my new favorite homemade LARABAR recipe very soon!

What is your favorite homemade snack?

chocolate cherry oat balls_Emily Caruso_Jelly Toast-0095

Happy Monday!!

Chocolate Cherry Oat Bites

Yield: 20 snacks

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes


2/3 cup packed dates, pitted
1/3 cup tart, dried cherries
1/4 dark chocolate chunks (milk free to keep recipe vegan)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup of rolled oats
pinch of sea salt
1/2 - 1 tablespoon water


Place dates, cherries, oats, chocolate, vanilla and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Process until ingredients are well combined and evenly sized. Add water as needed to allow ingredients to process easily.

Scoop 1/2 tablespoons of mixture into your hand and roll into a ball. Repeat with remaining mixture.

enjoy immediately or chill snacks for 5-10 minutes or until firm. Extra snacks can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator to keep them firm.


Recipe Source: Jelly Toast
September 9th, 2013

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20 comments on “chocolate cherry oat bites”

  1. These look awesome! I always love little energy bites for quick snacks or breakfasts. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Yes, I love having things like this on hand, too! It feels good to have something around like this to either eat myself or give the kiddos. Mixes things up a bit 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Sophie!

  2. wow, looks great, I have made something like this but in russian kind 😀

  3. LOVE THESE! My nephew has a peanut and dairy intolerance so I’m passing your blog/ this recipe to her! And I’ll be making these for my daughters lunches! SCORE!

    • Thanks so much, Laurie! Yes! These would be perfect for both of those allergies, I hope she enjoys them! I’m playing around with some other flavor combos, so I’m really excited to share the new ones 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by!

  4. Love this!! The Cherry Pie Lara Bars are my favorite too 🙂

  5. I’m always looking for more snack ideas for my kids! These look ah-mazing, can’t wait to try them out for them – well that’s if I share them ; )

  6. My daughter and I would love these! We are a little larabar obsessed as well 😉

    • They are so addictive! I can’t resist when they have a little display of them at the end of an aisle, I always go over and check it out. Enjoy and thanks so much for stopping by!!

  7. I love these photos! (But duh, I love all of your photos.) Little oaty balls of chocolate cherry goodness sound like the perfect snack to me. I had a childhood friend who had a peanut allergy–it definitely is not a joke!

    • Thanks so much, Kiersten! Yeah, it’s hard to explain to people who aren’t familiar with food allergies. I get a lot of ‘Well, she can have this, right? I mean, it doesn’t have peanuts in it”. It’s a hard concept for some that the ‘processed with peanuts’ is quite a risk. These were so good, I am eager to experiment with more flavors!

  8. I feel your pain since my 3 year old is in the same boat. Severely severely allergic! I follow the same rules in our house. Even though it’s only peanuts, we’re completely nut free and I share your frustration when it comes to finding seeds that haven’t potentially been contaminated. Thanks so much for those links! I’ll definitely be placing an order. And in the meantime, while I wait for my order to arrive I’ll make these chocolate cherry oat snacks. They sounds SO good!

  9. Hi there! A friend sent me this link, as my little one is highly peanut allergic. Where do you get your chocolate chunks? When I’ve browsed the baking aisle at my grocery store, it seems everything has the ‘may contain’ warning!

    • Hi Kira! The chocolate chunks I use (that are not processed with nuts) are actually a store brand at my Kroger. The brand is Private Selection. You could also use Ghirardelli 60% cocoa bittersweet baking chips. I use these often, and they are not processed with peanuts, which is fabulous! Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

  10. I just made something similar this morning, but I’m liking this recipe so much better because it has no added sugar! I’m bookmarking this recipe to try later! 🙂