I absolutely, positively adore dates. When I was a kid, I loved when my mom was baking something with dates; I’d always sneak a handful of those sugar-covered chopped dates out of the bag. Since then, I’ve come to enjoy them not only in baked goods, but in meals, as well. I love adding them to oatmeal and when I did a sugar elimination last December, I would eat two or three in the evening as a sweet treat. I cannot pass up a recipe featuring dates, and this one is no exception. From the oat crumble crust and topping to the date jam that is sandwiched in the middle, there is a lot to love about these bars.
While my great Zia Lena’s Date Bar recipe remains my favorite to this day, these bars are quite different and may have just worked their way into #1A territory. The chopped dates are simmered with water and maple syrup until a thick jam forms. Once it’s cooled, it’s spread between layers of an oat-crumb crust.
Between the sweet date filling with a hint of flavor and the crunchy, crumbly bottom and top crusts, these bars make a fantastic treat. If you cut them smaller, they would be a great addition to any holiday cookie tray. Yes, I already have Christmas on the brain!
I’m thrilled to have found another delicious way to feed into my date obsession!
[This recipe was cut out of a magazine and in a stack of clippings from my grandma. Only the recipe was clipped, not an entire page, so I have absolutely no idea where it originated. If you recognize it, let me know what the source is, and I’ll add the credit below!]
Combine the dates, water and maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 12 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently (the mixture will look like jam); cool completely.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan; set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together the flour, oats, baking soda and salt.
With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, beat only until all dry ingredients have been moistened (the mixture will be crumbly).
Measure out 2 cups of the crust mixture and press evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Spread the date mixture evenly over top, then sprinkle with the remaining crust mixture.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely before serving. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.