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The Citizen

Holiday treat: Oatmeal date bars

By Rebecca Yang

These irresistible bars are incredibly easy to make and will be sure to become a popular holiday treat. Use the best-quality dates you can find! Fresh Medjool dates are my favorite and they work perfectly in this recipe. But don’t be afraid to get creative and substitute the dates with any other dried fruit (figs, apricots, prunes, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, apples) to have some fun and create something new. Store in an airtight container and the bars will keep for several days. Enjoy!


Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Total time: 1 hour


Date Paste

  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 ½ cups chopped pitted dates (or any other dried fruit)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Oatmeal Crumble

  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, diced, room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Butter 8 x 8-inch metal baking pan.

3. Bring 1 ½ cups water to simmer in medium saucepan. Add dates; simmer until very soft and thick, stirring occasionally (about 15 minutes). Cool to room temperature. Stir in vanilla.

4. Combine flour, sugar, oats, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in large bowl; stir to blend.

5. Add butter. Using fingertips, rub in until moist clumps form.

6. Press half of oat mixture evenly over bottom of prepared pan. Spread date mixture over.

Sprinkle with remaining oat mixture; press gently to adhere. Bake until brown at edges and golden brown and set in center (about 40 minutes). Cool completely in pan on rack. Cut into bars and serve.