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Cacao Dried Cherry Energy Bars

Cacao Cherry Energy BarsLast weekend, I had an incredible experience. Seriously incredible. I met a friend. Not so incredible? Well, wait until you hear the back story on this one.

18 years ago, many evenings after I would tuck my little girls into bed, I would get on the computer and head to a chat room on CompuServe. Does anyone remember CompuServe? It was one of the first on-line services that offered more than just a black and orange DOS screen. This was well before AOL. It was a new frontier and so fun to be able to chat “on-line” with other folks.

I made two friends in those early days. One, a woman from England, the other a hockey mom from Minnesota. We had many chats late at night and built an on-line friendship. Somehow the hockey mom dropped off but my friend from England and I carried on. In fact, we became quite close. As AOL hit the scene, we could actually have a quick person to person chat when ever we were on-line. Remember, this was completely new at that time.  And for the last 18 years, we have kept in touch. Raising my girls, boyfriends, marriage, the birth of her boys and life event after life event were all shared. She moved to the states years ago and I was invited to her wedding but couldn’t make it across the country to attend.

As circumstance would have it, the stars aligned last weekend and her husband was coming to San Francisco for a conference. “Come and stay with us!” I excitedly typed out. And somehow, it all worked out.

I can’t tell you how surreal it is to meet someone face to face that you have only spoken to once (years ago) but who’s life you know so much about. Someone who you have shared joy and heart break with, someone who you respect and yes, love. How could you not after all those years? I think we both had extreme moments of trying to wrap our heads around everything amongst just simply having a great time. She is wickedly funny, stunningly creative and simply a gas to be around.  It really was incredible.

We spent the day in the city (San Francisco) shopping, eating, running around and we even made a little movie. At one point, we found ourselves at the Fort Mason Farmer’s Market where I scored a huge bag of truly raw almonds. Those almonds, inspired these raw granola-type bars. That and the sweet friendship that now has a beautiful face.

They bars are full of goodies like almond butter, chia seeds, raw oats and pumpkin seeds. With the added cacao, these little bars will give you a ton of nutrients, fiber and energy!

Raw Cacao Dried Cherry Granola Bars


  • 1 cup almond butter (recipe here: Almond Butter)
  • 6 dates, softened and chopped
  • 1/4 cup water (I used the soaking water from the dates)
  • 1/4 cup cacao
  • 1 teaspoon cinamon
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup or liquid sweetener of choice
  • 2 cups raw flaked oats
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried cherries
  • pinch Himalayan salt


  • 1/2 cup dried, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup coconut crystals (raw coconut sugar)
  1. In food processor, pulse together almond butter, dates, date water, cacao, cinnamon and maple syrup. Do not over-mix. Remove to bowl.
  2. Stir in oats, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, dried cherries and salt. This can get quite sticky and you might need to use your hands.
  3. Spread half of the topping mix in an 8 x 8 inch baking dish. Press the  oat mixture on top of the topping mix. Top with more topping mix and press in (so the bottom and the top is covered).
  4. Remove from pan and cut into squares or bars (as seen in photo).
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  1. google wrote on August 1, 2014

    Hi there, I desire to subscribe for this blog to get most
    up-to-date updates, so where can i do it please help.

    • Susan wrote on August 21, 2014

      You can subscribe with the subscription form on the right. Cheers!

  2. Gemma wrote on June 30, 2014

    That’s a great recipe! Finally a healthy energy bars recipe that tastes super good! I tried them last week using raisins cause I didn’t have dried cherry in my kitchen pantry that day but surely will make them next time with cherries. :-)
    I find them perfect after a post-workout snack or a quick snack between hours.

    I love your blog!

  3. Jeanne Dillinger wrote on January 25, 2014

    I would like a calorie breakdown for your recipes. Nuts are high in far
    And I could eat the whole pan. I find your recipes very
    tasty. Thanks

  4. Li wrote on January 22, 2014

    Can I use carob powder instead of cacao?

  5. marquis @realrawkitchen wrote on January 22, 2014

    These look SO good! And so easy, too. My husband will love them, he’s constantly looking for a snack that packs a lot of protein and fat.

    And I love your story, that is just so sweet :)

  6. Michelle wrote on January 21, 2014

    I made these this weekend and they are delicious!!!! They were a nice change to the baked granola bars I usually make, especially since I am detoxing this week. I store mine in fridge since it is pretty warm right now in CA. I think next time I will double the batch to I will not have to make them every week for my family. Thank you so much Susan!!!

  7. Andreia wrote on January 18, 2014

    Hi Susan, great recipe!!!
    I have a friend who’s celiac and she’s allergic to oats. Can i use flax flour instead of oat flakes?

    Cheers :)

  8. Lisa Viger is Raw on $10 a Day (or Less!) wrote on January 18, 2014

    What an excellent story! I remember those days of AOL chat rooms and have also maintained a couple friendships through the years. It’s amazing how friendships can be nurtured in so many different ways :)

    The energy bars look awesome (and easy to make), too … !

  9. Nicole wrote on January 17, 2014

    Hey there! Love that there’s no dehydrating, but whats the storage then on these? Fridge ’em? Also, if I want less sticky: do I add less dates, almond butter or more oats? Id love any suggestions? Thanks!

    • Susan wrote on January 18, 2014

      The mixture is a little sticky when you mix it but once the bars are done, the texture if perfect. So, I wouldn’t do anything. :-). I keep them in a glass container on the counter but if it is hot where you are, you can certainly refrigerate them.


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