Cookie bars are always great for summer gatherings, pot luck dinners and casual parties. They are easily portable and your guests can just eat them with their hands. This Oatmeal Date Bars recipe is two layers of a cookie crust sandwiched with a gooey layer of sweet dates.
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Why use dates in desserts
Dates are the fruit of the date palm tree. These little wonders have increased in popularity as a dessert ingredient. They have a chewy texture and a naturally sweet flavor - making it easier to use less processed sugar in recipes. As an added bonus they contain antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
The date filling for this recipe is sandwiched between an oatmeal dough. For the two components you need the following ingredients:
- Dates: pitted and chopped finely
- Granulated Sugar
- Pure Vanilla Extract: use a high-quality extract, not imitation vanilla
- Almond Flour: use a finely ground almond flour. Replace with all-purpose flour if a nut-free version is desired.
- Unsalted Butter, room temperature (¾ Cup or 1 ½ Sticks)
- Light Brown Sugar
- All-Purpose flour - I recommend unbleached flour but any will work
- Baking soda and salt
- Old-fashioned oatmeal: don't use quick-cooking oats which may result in a mushy dough
Want a vegan oatmeal date bar? No problem. Replace the butter in the recipe with margarine! Want a nut-free option? Again, no problem, replace the almond flour with all-purpose flour.
These treats do not need refrigeration. Place the bars in an airtight container and leave at room temperature. The bars may also be frozen for up to three months.
Absolutely! I have family members and friends who are gluten and dairy intolerant. Simply replace ingredients with the following:
Gluten-Free: There are many good gluten-free flour substitutes available. I typically use Bob's Red Mill, but there are many others.
Vegan or Dairy-Free: These oatmeal date bars don't use eggs, so simply replace the butter in the recipe with a vegan butter substitute. There are many good ones available - my favorite is Miyoko's.
Oatmeal Date Bars Recipe
- Hand Mixer or
- 10 Inch Square Pan or
- 2 Cups Dates, pitted and chopped
- 66 Grams Granulated Sugar (⅓ Cup)
- 1 Cup Water (8 fluid ounces)
- 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
- 50 Grams Almond Flour (use all purpose flour if nut-free is desired) (½ Cup)
- 170 Grams Unsalted Butter, room temperature (¾ Cup or 1 ½ Sticks)
- 213 Grams Brown Sugar (1 Cup, packed)
- 150 Grams All-Purpose flour (1 ¼ Cup)
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 100 Grams Oatmeal, Old Fashioned (1 ¼ Cup)
- Spray pan with nonstick baking spray and place strips of parchment paper in bottom of pan so the parchment extends over the four pan sides.
Prepare Date Filling
- Chop dates into small chunks.
- Place dates, water and granulated sugar in a medium-size saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, stir often. Reduce to a simmer and cook until mixture is thickened, stirring occasionally (approximately 4 - 6 minutes)
- Remove from heat and add the almond flour and vanilla. Stir until absorbed.
- Set aside to cool completely.
Make Cookie Base
- Preheat oven to 350° F
- Sift or whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
- Place softened butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment begin mixing on medium speed. Continue to mix until the butter and sugar mixture is light and fluffy (approximately 2 - 3 minutes). Note: a hand mixer may also be used
- Add the flour, baking soda and salt mixture. Mix for 20 - 30 seconds.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and mix in the oatmeal. Note: the dough will be crumbly.
- Pour half of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Using your hands, lightly press the dough down so it evenly covers the bottom of the pan.
- Pour the date mixture over the dough in the pan and spread evenly.
- Sprinkle the second half of the dough over the dates so it is evenly distributed.
- Bake for 25 - 30 minutes. Cool completely before removing from pan.
- Unmold by pulling up on sides of parchment paper and transfer to a cutting board. Remove parchment from bottom of the bar. Cut into desired shapes.
Umaima Talha says
Thank you for this amazing recipe.
Susan JoyAmongChaos says
I love that these goodies have healthy oatmeal and dates in them! Plus they’re gluten free! I’m sold!
Roseline Beusch says
You are brilliant, im a lousy cook but even a more terrible baker, but since I started watching your baking videos, I find that I can mix the ingredients when trying to bake.
Thanks so much for your generosity in always sharing.But, i just wanted to ask one question that may seem out of place, will this recipe work without dates?" they are my nightmare" when it comes to fruits, I totally do not like them.
LOL - nightmare? Most other dried fruits will work in this recipe (e.g. raisins, apricots, cherries, etc...). Thank you for your feedback on the videos!
Your recipes are always mouth watering Stephanie. Will try this soon.
I am so glad I found this recipe - these were perfect for taking up to the cabin for snacking! Everyone loved them. Next time I'll make more and freeze the rest for later!
Thank you for your review on the date bars! Happy to hear our gang enjoyed the treats.
This recipe really takes me back to when I was kid. Good old-fashioned date slice after school. Thanks so much for the recipe everyone loved them.
I brought these as a treat to a friend's brunch party and everyone devoured them. Im going to make them again so I can have them all to myself this time. Great recipe.
Thank you for your feedback. Good to know!
Sarah James says
What a delicious combination, oatmeal and dates. My family loved them, thanks for the recipe.
Thank you for stopping by and letting me know!
I love oatmeal bars!:) I like to combo this with my favorite coffee. These Oatmeal Date Bars are perfect for family gatherings.:) Thanks!
Thank you for the input and for stopping by!
Can I substitute almond flour for the regular flour in the dough? Thanks for the info.
Yes, all purpose flour will work well also. Thank you for stopping by!
Tara Pittman says
I am glad that I can make these bars vegan. I have a dairy allergy so good info.
Shana M says
Just what I was looking for to make for the vegan people in my house. They gobbled em up. Love the gooey date filling.
So happy I found this recipe - was looking for a vegan option. My veggie friends liked it.