It would be impossible for me to overstate my feelings about dates. Quite simply, I love them. I tried my first fresh date three years a go when I arrived in California. I was hooked, after my first bite into this sweet fruit. They tasted so good – almost like a caramel candy! So you can imagine how happy I was when I found out that dates not only are tasty but also are healthy! Dates are good sources of fiber, potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants. Click on the link below to find out more about the benefits of eating dates.
One of my favorite recipes using dates comes from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s The Joy of Vegan Baking: The Compassionate Cooks’ Traditional Treats and Sinful Sweets.
I have been very happy with all of the recipes I have made from The Joy of Vegan Baking. The Date Bars – a sweet date filling sandwiched between delicious, oat layers – are no exception.
To get started, gather up your ingredients!
Remove the pits from the dates. I suggest wetting your hands during the “de-pitting” process, as it makes the dates easier to handle. I like to use either Medjool or Barhi dates, but I’m sure there are other types that would work as well!
Next, chop up the dates.
Add the dates, vanilla, and salt to the boiling water. This is when delicious aromas will begin to fill your kitchen. This date mixture tastes good on its own. I highly recommend taking a time out for a taste test!
Assemble all of the ingredients for the oat layers in a bowl…
Take half of the oat layer mixture, and press it into the greased baking pan.
Then add the date mixture…
And spread evenly.
Add the second oat layer on top of the date mixture, and press it down gently with your hands.
It’s now ready for the oven!
Keep in mind that it is best to allow the bars to cool before cutting.
The Date Bars are perfect for any time of the day. Their coffee cake like consistency make them a great breakfast or brunch treat, and they work well as a mid-day snack or as a dessert at the end of a meal. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
- 1.25 cups water
- 16-18 dates Medjool dates or 32-36 Barhi dates, roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Oat Layer
- 3 cups quick-cooking oats
- 1.5 cups flour
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ cup non-dairy butter (like Earth Balance), melted
- ¼ cup canola oil
- ¼ cup water (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350
- Grease an 8 x 8 pan
- To make filling, bring water to boil and add chopped dates, vanilla, and salt.
- Allow to simmer until dates are soft
- To make the oat layer, mix oats, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, non-dairy butter, and canola oil
- Stir until combined. Add additional water if necessary. Mixture should be moist but not wet.
- Press half of the oat layer into the greased pan.
- Spread date mixture over crust.
- Press other half of the oat layer over date layer.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Allow to cool, and cut into bars.
- Enjoy immediately, or store in airtight container.