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Guilt-Free, Superfruit Snacking: Sweet treats made to permissibly indulge

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(Family Features) For many, enjoying a small indulgence can serve as a reward for a job well done or a mood-boosting pick-me-up. In fact, mindful snacking is on-trend for a majority of consumers.

According to Mondelez International’s Fourth Annual State of Snacking Global Consumer Trends Study, 78% are choosing small indulgences to pamper themselves and 68% are checking nutrition labels on snacks.

With today’s changing palates and the growing demand for sour, less sweet foods and beverages, a superfruit like tart cherries can help snackers permissibly indulge without the guilt. Primarily grown on small family farms in the United States, Montmorency tart cherries – also referred to as sour cherries – are available year-round in dried, juice and juice concentrate, canned and frozen forms.

More than 110 scientific research studies show Montmorency tart cherries are a superfruit. In addition to their sweet-sour taste and unique nutrient profile, research suggests tart cherries – one of the few natural food sources of melatonin – may help improve sleep, aid in exercise recovery, reduce inflammation, ease arthritis symptoms, improve gut health and promote heart health. In fact, in one study published in the “European Journal of Nutrition,” adults who drank Montmorency tart cherry juice slept about 40 minutes longer on average and had up to a 6% increase in sleep efficiency.

While increasingly featured in functional beverages and health-positioned foods, tart cherries can also add drool-worthy flavor to superfruit-infused snacks, such as these Tart Cherry Superfood Banana Splits and Tart Cherry Brownie Bites. Plus, using tart cherries as a favorite ingredient in recipes like these adds a health halo to sweets – reinforcing the trend of permissible indulgences.

As an ideal superfruit snack that makes snacking more satisfying, tart cherries provide delicious flavor and potential health benefits in these recipes and beyond so you can savor the moment and cherish every bite.

Find more tart cherry snack recipes at ChooseCherries.com.

Tart Cherry Superfood Banana Splits

Recipe courtesy of Hannah Zimmerman of Bite Sized Studio on behalf of the U.S. Tart Cherry Industry
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 2 cups tart cherry juice
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup granola
  • 1/4 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/2 cup frozen tart cherries, thawed
  1. Place chocolate chips in bowl.
  2. In saucepan over medium heat, bring tart cherry juice to simmer about 20 minutes until reduced to 2/3 cup.
  3. Pour juice into bowl and mix until chocolate chips are melted and sauce is smooth.
  4. Cut bananas in half lengthwise and place on two plates. Spoon 1/2 cup Greek yogurt on each banana then drizzle with 2 tablespoons almond butter and 2 tablespoons tart cherry chocolate sauce.
  5. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons granola, 2 tablespoons dried tart cherries and 1/4 cup thawed frozen tart cherries on top of each banana split.

Note: Leftover tart cherry chocolate sauce can be stored in airtight container in refrigerator for later use.

Tart Cherry Brownie Bites

Recipe courtesy of Hannah Zimmerman of Bite Sized Studio on behalf of the U.S. Tart Cherry Industry
Prep time: 10 minutes
Yield: 12 bites

  • 10 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon chia or hemp seeds (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or almond butter
  • 4 tablespoons tart cherry juice
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • cocoa powder (optional)
  • melted chocolate (optional)
  1. In bowl of food processor, combine dates; dried tart cherries; walnuts; oats; cocoa powder; seeds, if desired; salt; and nut butter. Pulse 30-60 seconds until ingredients are ground into tiny pieces.
  2. Add tart cherry juice in 1 tablespoon additions, pulsing mixture after each addition, until crumbly dough forms.
  3. Transfer dough to bowl and fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Roll dough into 12 balls. Serve plain or finish balls with dusting of cocoa powder or drizzle of melted chocolate, if desired.