Larabar copycat recipes have been all the rage on the blogosphere for some time. Take a blender, throw in some dates and nuts and flavorings, et voilà, you too can sell food that looks like it’s already passed through your digestive system at an outrageously exorbitant price! There’s a reason everyone’s been imitating them, though: their bars taste amazing and are a fairly simple, healthful treat. Thusly inspired, I concocted these raw almond fig balls, which have the added benefits of being cheap and packed with calcium.

Don’t get me wrong; I love dates. One of my favorite memories of a cross-country road trip I took several years ago was tasting dates fresh off the tree in California (seriously, nothing else even comes close). And I am a sucker for those coconut date rolls you can find in the supermarket. But dates (particularly the good ones) are also expensive, and not particularly high in nutritional value. And besides, I didn’t have dates on my shelf. I had figs.

Dried figs are actually great for you. They’re also very high in fiber, magnesium, manganese, and potassium (even moreso than bananas!). They’re calcium-rich, too, just like the almonds and sesame seeds in this recipe. If you’re not concerned about this being raw, a bit of high-calcium blackstrap molasses might nicely round out the dark and sweet flavors here.

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Raw Almond Fig Balls
Recipe type: Dessert
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c raw almonds
  • 12 oz dried black mission figs, soaked for a few hours and de-stemmed
  • ½ c dried dark sweet cherries
  • ⅓ c coconut
  • ¼ c sesame seeds
  • 1-2 tbsp agave nectar, optional
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, grind almonds into a coarse meal. Some bits and pieces should remain. Take care not to grind them too long; you don’t want to end up with almond butter.
  2. Add figs and cherries and blend until mixture forms a ball.
  3. Fold in coconut, sesame seeds, and agave.
  4. Form the dough into 1″ balls and roll in a bowl of shredded coconut and sesame seeds.
Notes
If bars are more your thing, press the dough into a loaf or 8×8″ pan lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate until firm; slice as desired. For easy transportation, bars can be individually wrapped in plastic wrap; refrigerate in an airtight container to store. By the way, you can make raw bars like these with pretty much any combination of things, as long as you use a roughly similar dry to wet ratio. If your mixture is too dry, you can always grind it longer. Go ahead and experiment with different kinds of dried fruits, nuts, spices, and extracts. The sky’s the limit!