Best Date Bars Ever are two layers of a delectable oatmeal crust that are filled with a sweet date mixture then baked into a vanilla/almond scented treat.
- DATE FILLING:
- 2 cups dates, pitted and chopped
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1/2 cup almonds, finely ground, not to a meal but finely ground.
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- DATE CRUST:
- 3/4 cup vegan butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Preparation time 25mins
Cooking time 70mins
Adapted from veganinthefreezer.com
Put the dates in a Food Processor and chop to fine pieces.
You are going to process the date mixture after it cooks also. In a medium sized saucepan add the chopped dates, water and 1/2 cup granulated sugar.
Stir and cook over medium high heat and then turn down and cook until the mixture is thickened.
Add the vanilla extract, almond extract and finely ground almonds.
Spoon into a bowl and let cool down because you will be pressing this out, with your fingers, onto the bottom layer of the crust.
Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan, set aside.
Cream the butter and brown sugar with a Hand Mixer, until light and fluffy. About 5 minutes.
Add the flour, baking soda and salt.
Add the oats and mix well.
It will be a crumbly mixture but it will press together.
Sprinkle half the dough into the prepared baking pan.
Press down with your fingers to an even layer all across the pan bottom.
Now take the date mixture and dab teaspoons full here and there across the bottom layer in the pan. It will be easier to spread this way.
With your fingers - gently press out the filling for a solid layer across the complete bottom of the crust.
Sprinkle the rest of the dough over the filling layer.
Make sure it is even. Then press the top crust with your hand to make a solid layer. I use my fingers and the palm of my hand. It does not take much pressure.
Bake at 375°F for 25 minutes.
Cut into squares while it is still warm.
Cut to make 4 squares across and 6 squares down and that will be 24 bars.
After they have cooled you may freeze them in any of the methods shown in my article http://veganinthefreezer.com/preparing-food-for-the-freezer/
They defrost quickly so it really doesn't take any planning. Just put them on a plate for an hour or two and enjoy.
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