How To Make Old-Fashioned Date Bars — Baking Lessons from The Kitchn

(Image credit: Christine Han)

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Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.”,”image”:{“id”:”9dce6b4e01905c2a1d5d8babc59261cd4517b17e”,”width”:2000,”height”:1333,”format”:”JPEG”,”created_by_id”:757,”updated_by_id”:null,”created_at”:”2017-05-22T08:21:49.572-04:00″,”updated_at”:”2017-05-22T08:21:49.572-04:00″,”credit_style”:”author”,”credit_author_id”:697,”credit_name”:””,”credit_url”:””,”credit_email”:””,”credit_custom”:””,”credit_license”:””,”credit_linked_post_id”:null,”focus_x”:null,”focus_y”:null,”filename”:”The Kitchn 051817-100.jpg”,”alt_text”:null,”exclude_from_color_search”:false,”crop”:null,”ancestor”:null,”focus_z”:null}},{“image_id”:”352a2241369007de590ad33075634b860b3a8232″,”caption”:”\u003cb\u003eCool the filling: \u003c/b\u003eRemove from the heat. Cool the filling for at least 30 minutes before making the crust.”,”image”:{“id”:”352a2241369007de590ad33075634b860b3a8232″,”width”:2000,”height”:1333,”format”:”JPEG”,”created_by_id”:757,”updated_by_id”:null,”created_at”:”2017-05-22T08:21:49.568-04:00″,”updated_at”:”2017-05-22T08:21:49.568-04:00″,”credit_style”:”author”,”credit_author_id”:697,”credit_name”:””,”credit_url”:””,”credit_email”:””,”credit_custom”:””,”credit_license”:””,”credit_linked_post_id”:null,”focus_x”:null,”focus_y”:null,”filename”:”The Kitchn 051817-104.jpg”,”alt_text”:null,”exclude_from_color_search”:false,”crop”:null,”ancestor”:null,”focus_z”:null}},{“image_id”:”5f9ea61ca5c4063978108d7536e9ba14162e5cd8″,”caption”:”\u003cb\u003ePrepare the pan and heat the oven: \u003c/b\u003eArrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.”,”image”:{“id”:”5f9ea61ca5c4063978108d7536e9ba14162e5cd8″,”width”:1600,”height”:1068,”format”:”JPEG”,”created_by_id”:757,”updated_by_id”:null,”created_at”:”2017-05-12T12:30:32.424-04:00″,”updated_at”:”2017-05-12T12:30:32.424-04:00″,”credit_style”:”external”,”credit_author_id”:757,”credit_name”:”Joe Lingeman”,”credit_url”:”http://www.joelingeman.com”,”credit_email”:””,”credit_custom”:””,”credit_license”:””,”credit_linked_post_id”:null,”focus_x”:null,”focus_y”:null,”filename”:”2017-05-03_theKitchn_1069_DateCaramels.jpg”,”alt_text”:null,”exclude_from_color_search”:false,”crop”:null,”ancestor”:null,”focus_z”:null}},{“image_id”:”d00f754572ff6c9cc6739af2bfe03b7d5e73e0e7″,”caption”:”\u003cb\u003eMake oat flour:\u003c/b\u003e Process 1 cup of the oats in a coffee grinder, blender, or food processor until it resembles flour, about 3 minutes.”,”image”:{“id”:”d00f754572ff6c9cc6739af2bfe03b7d5e73e0e7″,”width”:2000,”height”:1333,”format”:”JPEG”,”created_by_id”:757,”updated_by_id”:null,”created_at”:”2017-05-22T08:21:49.525-04:00″,”updated_at”:”2017-05-22T08:21:49.525-04:00″,”credit_style”:”author”,”credit_author_id”:697,”credit_name”:””,”credit_url”:””,”credit_email”:””,”credit_custom”:””,”credit_license”:””,”credit_linked_post_id”:null,”focus_x”:null,”focus_y”:null,”filename”:”The Kitchn 051817-101.jpg”,”alt_text”:null,”exclude_from_color_search”:false,”crop”:null,”ancestor”:null,”focus_z”:null}},{“image_id”:”5c00a77297d44ba88f1bb1e7f77c13a3b33cbde2″,”caption”:”\u003cb\u003eMake the oat crust: \u003c/b\u003eCombine the oat flour, remaining 1 cup of coats, and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Add the butter and work into a crumbly mixture by beating with a sturdy spoon or spatula. Measure off 3/4 cup of this mixture and set aside.”,”image”:{“id”:”5c00a77297d44ba88f1bb1e7f77c13a3b33cbde2″,”width”:2000,”height”:1333,”format”:”JPEG”,”created_by_id”:757,”updated_by_id”:null,”created_at”:”2017-05-22T08:21:49.552-04:00″,”updated_at”:”2017-05-22T08:21:49.552-04:00″,”credit_style”:”author”,”credit_author_id”:697,”credit_name”:””,”credit_url”:””,”credit_email”:””,”credit_custom”:””,”credit_license”:””,”credit_linked_post_id”:null,”focus_x”:null,”focus_y”:null,”filename”:”The Kitchn 051817-103.jpg”,”alt_text”:null,”exclude_from_color_search”:false,”crop”:null,”ancestor”:null,”focus_z”:null}},{“image_id”:”148d1cb62f99701e8d41cffcedd47c76590f56f6″,”caption”:”\u003cb\u003ePack in the crust:\u003c/b\u003e Pour the remaining crust mixture into the prepared baking pan. Tightly press the crust mixture into the pan.”,”image”:{“id”:”148d1cb62f99701e8d41cffcedd47c76590f56f6″,”width”:2000,”height”:1333,”format”:”JPEG”,”created_by_id”:757,”updated_by_id”:null,”created_at”:”2017-05-22T08:21:49.632-04:00″,”updated_at”:”2017-05-22T08:21:49.632-04:00″,”credit_style”:”author”,”credit_author_id”:697,”credit_name”:””,”credit_url”:””,”credit_email”:””,”credit_custom”:””,”credit_license”:””,”credit_linked_post_id”:null,”focus_x”:null,”focus_y”:null,”filename”:”The Kitchn 051817-106.jpg”,”alt_text”:null,”exclude_from_color_search”:false,”crop”:null,”ancestor”:null,”focus_z”:null}},{“image_id”:”0f4458b9cad0ff73c52f652e7ba48c629811ffc3″,”caption”:”\u003cb\u003eAdd the filling:\u003c/b\u003e Spread the cooled date filling into the crust.”,”image”:{“id”:”0f4458b9cad0ff73c52f652e7ba48c629811ffc3″,”width”:2000,”height”:1333,”format”:”JPEG”,”created_by_id”:757,”updated_by_id”:null,”created_at”:”2017-05-22T08:21:49.645-04:00″,”updated_at”:”2017-05-22T08:21:49.645-04:00″,”credit_style”:”author”,”credit_author_id”:697,”credit_name”:””,”credit_url”:””,”credit_email”:””,”credit_custom”:””,”credit_license”:””,”credit_linked_post_id”:null,”focus_x”:null,”focus_y”:null,”filename”:”The Kitchn 051817-107.jpg”,”alt_text”:null,”exclude_from_color_search”:false,”crop”:null,”ancestor”:null,”focus_z”:null}},{“image_id”:”7fb31dc278acfa2a45a510c4ecbd209451c1e840″,”caption”:”\u003cb\u003eTop with remaining crust mixture:\u003c/b\u003e Crumble and sprinkle the reserved 3/4 cup crust mixture over the filling.\r\n “,”image”:{“id”:”7fb31dc278acfa2a45a510c4ecbd209451c1e840″,”width”:2000,”height”:1333,”format”:”JPEG”,”created_by_id”:757,”updated_by_id”:null,”created_at”:”2017-05-22T08:21:49.661-04:00″,”updated_at”:”2017-05-22T08:21:49.661-04:00″,”credit_style”:”author”,”credit_author_id”:697,”credit_name”:””,”credit_url”:””,”credit_email”:””,”credit_custom”:””,”credit_license”:””,”credit_linked_post_id”:null,”focus_x”:null,”focus_y”:null,”filename”:”The Kitchn 051817-108.jpg”,”alt_text”:null,”exclude_from_color_search”:false,”crop”:null,”ancestor”:null,”focus_z”:null}},{“image_id”:”aee0073a06d08fe6dff1516cb3993dc95dbbf3f9″,”caption”:”\u003cb\u003eBake: \u003c/b\u003eBake until the crust is golden-brown and the filling is beginning to brown around the edges, 30 to 35 minutes.”,”image”:{“id”:”aee0073a06d08fe6dff1516cb3993dc95dbbf3f9″,”width”:1333,”height”:2000,”format”:”JPEG”,”created_by_id”:757,”updated_by_id”:null,”created_at”:”2017-05-22T08:21:49.672-04:00″,”updated_at”:”2017-05-22T08:21:49.672-04:00″,”credit_style”:”author”,”credit_author_id”:697,”credit_name”:””,”credit_url”:””,”credit_email”:””,”credit_custom”:””,”credit_license”:””,”credit_linked_post_id”:null,”focus_x”:null,”focus_y”:null,”filename”:”The Kitchn 051817-110.jpg”,”alt_text”:null,”exclude_from_color_search”:false,”crop”:null,”ancestor”:null,”focus_z”:null}},{“image_id”:”87c08da1ef222e727ce76e7aaa3ef3047e256997″,”caption”:”\u003cb\u003eCool and slice: \u003c/b\u003eRemove the bars from the oven to a cooling rack and cool for 1 hour before slicing into 12 bars. “,”image”:{“id”:”87c08da1ef222e727ce76e7aaa3ef3047e256997″,”width”:1333,”height”:2000,”format”:”JPEG”,”created_by_id”:757,”updated_by_id”:504,”created_at”:”2017-05-22T08:21:49.681-04:00″,”updated_at”:”2017-06-01T15:09:54.721-04:00″,”credit_style”:”author”,”credit_author_id”:697,”credit_name”:””,”credit_url”:””,”credit_email”:””,”credit_custom”:””,”credit_license”:””,”credit_linked_post_id”:null,”focus_x”:0.408163265306122,”focus_y”:0.304591795214179,”filename”:”The Kitchn 051817-111.jpg”,”alt_text”:””,”exclude_from_color_search”:false,”crop”:”focalpoint”,”ancestor”:null,”focus_z”:1.0}}]};

Date bars have turned my daily dessert world upside down. You see, up until a few weeks ago I had never even heard about date bars, but after the first batch I knew I had found my new favorite, go-to cookie bar. These bars are made with only four major ingredients — dates, oats, butter, and a bit of brown sugar — and come together in about the time it takes the oven to preheat. They happen to be naturally gluten-free and low in added sugar, which means they’re the kind of treat that makes a near-perfect after-school snack (but something that pairs deliciously with a bourbon night cap too).

That’s not even the best part, though! Biting into these bars is the most delicious adventure in contrasting textures. The top is crisp and buttery with oat crumble, while the date filling is sweet as caramel and just as lush. The same oat mixture that crisps on top becomes chewy and nutty on the bottom of the pan. Personally, I call dibs on the corner pieces, but here’s how to make a whole pan of these delicious old-fashioned date bars.

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