Chocolate Cherry Bars

Perfect for the holiday season, these chocolate bars are sweet, chewy and snack-size. These bars can be made with different types of preserves but we went for cherry because it’s such a great combination with chocolate.

This recipe is a variation on a Bob’s Red Mill recipe for Chocolate Raspberry Bars. We used Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour but other brands work just as well.

Ingredients

1½ cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

1 cup Rolled Oats

½ cup Wheat Germ

½ cup Brown Sugar

1 tsp Baking Powder

½ tsp Salt

1 cup melted Butter

10 oz Cherry Preserves

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

½ tsp ground Cinnamon

1 cup Chocolate Chips

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, oats, wheat germ, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Add melted butter and stir until the consistency of a crumbly dough.

Press half of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

In a bowl, combine cherry preserves, vanilla and cinnamon and then spread evenly over the mixture in the pan.

Sprinkle chocolate chips and the remaining mixture over the preserves.

Bake until the top layer is brown and the preserves begin to bubble. Approximately 35-40 minutes.

Cool completely before slicing.

We hope you enjoyed making these chocolate cherry bars.

How did your bars turn out? Let us know in the comments below.

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The Mighty Hawaiian Avocado

Everyone loves avocados. Hawaiian avocados have a delicious, rich, creamy flavor and are packed with healthy oils. The Hawaiian climate makes growing avocados easy and they’ve become one of Hawaii’s favorite exports.

200 avocado varieties

There are over 200 different avocado varieties grown throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Cross-pollination is responsible for the proliferation of the avocado varieties. But it’s the Hawaiian climate that’s the reason for why many believe Hawaiian avocados are some of the best in the world. The microclimates and the fertile soil often produce very large avocados with significantly higher amounts of healthy oils. The avocado season usually runs from September to May of the following year.

The main variety of avocado grown in Hawaii is the Sharwil variety (above). Originally from Australia, the Sharwil has a velvety smooth, creamy texture. This variety is often exported to the mainland. They have a classic pear shape and we grow this variety here at the guest house. It grows very well along the Kona Coast.

Did you know that you can freeze avocados?

All it takes is a little preparation and you’ll be eating avocados all year round. First, cut the avocado in half and remove the seed. Smear some lemon juice on the open flesh of each cut half. Wrap each half with plastic cling wrap, careful to make sure it’s entirely sealed. Place the cut halves of the avocado in a freezer bag and seal tight. Freeze and enjoy avocado anytime!

Butter avocados

Perhaps our favorite avocado is the Kahalu’u variety (below), also known as the butter avocado. This variety has a buttery, creamy texture and can grow to twice the size of the average Sharwil variety. The season for the Kahalu’u is from late October to December. We have a Kahalu’u avocado tree here at Horizon. This season we have seen some huge avocados from our tree, many over 1.5 pounds each!

Other popular varieties grown in the islands include the Malama, Yamagata, Greengold, Beshore and of course the popular Hass. The Hass is a smaller avocado with a pleasant flavor but overall contains less oil content than the other Hawaiian varieties. Many of the Hawaiian varieties were named after the families of farmers who discovered the seedlings.

Most avocado trees are not grown from seed but are grafted, a process in which part of an existing mature tree is cut and placed in a rootstock. This process means that there remains consistency in the quality of the fruit with the new trees. The first time yield for an avocado tree is 8 to 12 years, but there is nothing like the creamy, rich texture of the mighty Hawaiian avocados – they are well worth the wait.

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