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Date Nut Bars

I have been sick for the past week, so I’m a little slow with posting.  Haven’t really felt much like cooking or eating either.  However, now I’m taking medicine that must be taken on a full stomach.  I’m not a huge fan of eating in the morning.  I love breakfast foods, but there is something about eating them early in the morning that is unappealing. I get this honestly from my mom.  Having these tasty date nut bars around should make it easier to eat in the morning so I can take my medicine.

This is another adaptable recipe.  You can make them wheat-free or vegan.  If you don’t like walnuts, use pecans or another nut.  Not a fan of pumpkin seeds, then just use sunflower seeds.  Want real butter or coconut oil instead of canola oil, go for it. If you want them for dessert or a snack bar, feel free to add a few chocolate, carob, butterscotch, or peanut butter chips.  Don’t want to grind flax seeds? You can use sesame seeds or whole flax seeds.  You can add other spices – ginger, cloves, or cardamom.  If you love vanilla, you can add that too. Ok, I’ll stop now; you get the point.

I included substitutions in parentheses for most of the ingredients. Don’t let that limit you though.  This is a fun, easy recipe, so play around with it…

Date Nut Bars

Dry ingredients:

3 cups rolled oats, not instant or quick

¼ cup gluten-free flour blend (or regular flour)

¼ cup maple sugar crystals (or date sugar or brown sugar is fine)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon (or pumpkin pie or apple pie spice blend)

pinch of salt

¼ cup ground flax seeds (or whole flax seeds or sesame seeds)

1 cup walnuts, chopped (or almonds or pecans or hazelnuts or cashews)

½ cup dried raisins (or cranberries or cherries)

¼ cup pumpkin seeds

¼ cup sunflower seeds

½ cup dried, unsweetened coconut (or shredded sweetened coconut or coconut chips)

Wet ingredients:

½ cup dried dates (or dried apricots or dried figs)

⅓ cup canola oil (or butter, coconut oil, or vegetable oil)

¼ cup peanut butter (or almond butter or cashew butter)

¼ cup maple syrup (or honey or agave or golden syrup or molasses)

3 tablespoons hot water

Preheat the oven to 350º F.  Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix well. Combine the dates, oil, peanut butter, maple syrup, and hot water in a food processor.  Process until it is a thick paste.  Pour this date mixture over the dry ingredients. Mix well. 

Press into a parchment or foil lined 9”x13” pan (I sometimes use a rolling-pin to make sure it is pressed down firmly). Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Carefully lift the parchment or foil to remove the bars from the pan. Cool on racks.  Cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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  1. March 14, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Sorry you haven’t been feeling well, Katie. We missed you at Millicent’s . . . and you missed some great food!

    • March 14, 2012 at 12:12 pm

      Thanks, Bonnie. Sorry I missed everyone (and the food!). But it was probably for the best, I was still running a fever. Finally starting to feel better! Hope to see you soon.

  2. March 14, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    I’ve totally got into dates recently, particularly in baking. these sound delicious.

    • March 14, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      Dates are one of my favorites. The “date paste” is really good. I’ve thought about just making it to serve on toast, waffles, anything. Hope you like the date nut bars.

  3. Robin Kisala
    March 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    I am excited to try these…and so many variations!

  4. March 14, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Was experimenting with the recipe and couldn’t decide what I liked better so I included many options. Never make them the same way twice. They are also great with yogurt and/or fruit as a parfait. Hope you like them.

  5. March 14, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    My husband has been making some date bars that have a date filling in between a crumbly mixture. They aren’t ‘healthy’ like this one, but I keep wanting to see if I can adapt them. These sound yummy, too!

    • March 14, 2012 at 8:06 pm

      Maybe your husband would share the recipe, Rene?!? His recipe sounds more like a Fig Newton (but maybe that should be Date Newton :).

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