Updated: Dec 16, 2018
This is probably the most requested cookie/bar in my house - sweet dates cooked to perfection, sandwiched between a nutty oatmeal crumble. They are wholesome and rich in flavor. I like to prepare these during the holidays.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 12 bars
2 cups instant oats
4 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
9 tablespoons water, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 pound pitted Medjool dates, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a 9 x 9 inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the oatmeal, 3 tablespoons of maple syrup, applesauce, 4 tablespoons of the water, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. This should have a thick consistency.
Firmly press half the oatmeal mixture into the prepared pan. Reserve the remaining oatmeal crumble for the top.
In a saucepan over low heat, combine the dates, walnuts, remaining 1 tablespoon maple syrup, remaining 5 tablespoons water, lemon juice, and almond extract, stirring constantly until thickened, about 10 minutes.
Spread the thickened date mixture evenly over the oatmeal crumble mixture using a spatula. Top with the remaining oat mixture and press lightly.
Bake until golden brown, 25-30 minutes.
Cool thoroughly and cut into 12 bars.
Silicone pans will not stick and you won't need to use parchment paper. Amazon sells silicone baking mats, bread pans, muffin molds, and casserole pans that are very inexpensive. I highly recommend them if you bake often.
I like to drizzle a light coating of powdered sugar and water over the top for a garnish. This is not necessary and adds extra sugar, special occasions only!