Raw Fig & Cherry Bars

raw fig and cherry bars

I originally developed these bars for a cooking class on bone health. Almost every ingredient here is high in calcium, resulting in a bar that delivers about 12% of this mineral’s daily requirement for women. They’re also high in protein and work as a great energy bar. I often carry these in the car with me for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Recipe and photo courtesy of Ricki Heller, from Sweet Freedom.

Makes: 12 bars

  • 2 cups raw natural almonds (with skin)
  • 1/4 cup  finely ground flax seeds
  • Finely grated zest of 2 lemons, preferably organic
  • 1-1/4 cups quartered dried figs, stems removed
    (measure after removing stems)
  • 2 Tbsp to 1/4 cup agave nectar, light or dark
    (to taste and depending on how dry the mixture is)
  • 2 Tbsp raw tahini (sesame paste), or regular,
    if you’re not concerned about the bars being raw
  • 1 cup dried tart cherries or dried cranberries

Lightly grease a 9” square pan with coconut oil, or line with plastic wrap (I prefer the plastic wrap option).

In the bowl of a large food processor, combine the almonds and flax seeds and process until you have a fine meal that rises up (and begins to cling to) the sides of the bowl (it will appear as if the mixture has stopped spinning except in the very center). Do not overprocess, however, or you’ll end up with nut butter!

Add the lemon zest and figs, and process again until well blended and the mixture resembles a coarse meal (there should be no large pieces of fig visible). Add the remaining ingredients and pulse or process briefly to chop the cherries and create a moist dough-like consistency. The mixture is ready if it sticks together and feels slightly moist when pinched between your thumb and fingers.

Turn the mixture into the prepared pan and press down very firmly with your fist or the back of a metal spatula (it helps to cover with plastic wrap first). The mixture should be extremely compact and solid—press hard!

Refrigerate until very firm, about an hour, or at least 20 minutes. Cut into 12 bars and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator, or wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap to take along later. The bars will keep, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.

Ricki Heller is the author of Sweet Freedomand several e-books on specialty cooking subjects. Visit her at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs.

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