Here in the Heartland, you know the natives, because they are well acquainted with “bars”. Not the booze-drinking bars, but the neighborhood friendly cookie “bar”. Wikipedia gives this description of a “bar”… consisting of batter or other ingredients that are poured or pressed into a pan (sometimes in multiple layers), and cut into cookie-sized pieces after baking. Bars are something you take to a social gathering, to an ailing neighbor, a church potluck or to a new mom just home from the hospital. The advantage of baking bars, is that to make them look nice on a plate, you need to slice off a thin edge all the way around the pan, and then these are free for the nibbling!
Several weeks ago, I purchased some Medjool dates, just because it is something that I had never purchased before! I knew that they are naturally high in sugar, so I thought I could come up with a dessert bar without having to add refined sugar. After tweaking a few recipes, I came up with this one! I began by pitting and chopping 1 c. of dates.
After gathering the rest of the ingredients, I started whisking and stirring.
In a small bowl, whisk eggs, oil, honey and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk dates with almond flour. This took a few extra tools, because I tried to separate the chopped dates so they weren’t in one big hunk. Add salt, baking soda and walnuts. Stir into egg mixture.
Lay a piece of parchment paper in an 8×8 pan. Spray oil lightly over paper, then spoon mixture over paper, smoothing it out into the corners. This is a great way to keep the dough from sticking to the edges! (Saves on washing dishes too!)
Bake in 350 oven for 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat.
Let set in pan for about 10 minutes, then remove by lifting on the parchment paper. Cool for at least 30 minutes, then slice into desired sizes.
These look good enough for a ladies tea, however my honey keeps snitching them out of the freezer, so they must be good enough for a manly man too!
Walnut Date Dessert Bars
1/1/2 c. flour (I used almond flour to make these gluten free)
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. light olive oil
1/4 c. raw honey
1 T. vanilla
1 c. chopped walnuts
1 c. chopped dates
Mix dry ingredients together, making sure the dates are well distributed and not clumped together. Whisk eggs, oil, honey and vanilla together. Stir into dry ingredients. Lay a piece of parchment paper in an 8×8 pan, with an inch or so overhanging pan. Lightly spray with oil. Spoon dough into pan, smoothing into each corner. Bake in 350 oven for 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and let set for 10 minutes. Then bars out of pan using the parchment paper. Cool for 30 minutes before slicing into desired sizes.