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Brainy Energy Bars

1 cup dried figs, prunes or dates, chopped
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
½ cup shredded coconut, toasted
½ cup almonds, toasted
½ cup pistachios, toasted
¼ cup flax seeds or sunflower seeds
1 cup oats, not instant
½ cup dried cherries
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon olive oil, flax seed oil or coconut oil

Soak the figs (or prunes or dates) and apricots in two cups of hot water for 20 minutes.

Place the coconut, nuts, seeds, coconut and oats in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Remove the mixture and set aside.

Drain the fruit mixture and place in food processor with olive oil (or flax seed oil or coconut oil). Process until a paste develops, with the fruit mixed well. Add the nut mixture and pulse until it’s evenly incorporated with the fruit paste.

Fold in the cherries.

Spray a 9x9 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. 

Sift half of the cocoa onto the bottom of the baking dish. Press the bar mixture into the dish, as evenly as possible (a folded piece of parchment paper sprayed with non-stick cooking spray is an easy way to do this). Sift the remaining cocoa on top of the bar mixture.

Refrigerate for 6 – 8 hours. Cut into 1 ½ inch by 4 ½ inch bars. Wrap individually with wax or parchment paper and store in an airtight container in cupboard or freezer. NOTE: the bars will not freeze completely and by freezing, will maintain a chewy texture. Storing in the refrigerator can make bars soggy.

Produces 12 1 ½ inch by 4 ½ inch bars