Date Bars (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

On a Saturday morning, as I was contemplating whether to go for a run or to sleep-in, I scrolled down my Feedly with one eye barely open. It's my morning ritual before lazily peeling myself out of bed. Nothing but fig bars from the Sprouted Kitchen immediately caught my attention; I jumped right out of bed, soaked dates (I didn't have figs), and made them the next day as a part of my Father's day brunch. If you are on a lookout for a wholesome, easy, not-too-sweet bars made with good for you ingredients - look no further than date bars (I am sure you can use any other dried fruit fillings). 

Note to self: Never scroll Feedly right before a run because it makes you think about food even more. I already have that problem. And if something looks so damn good, don't pin it for later. Make them ASAP. 

These date bars are taken from Sprouted Kitchen but I made a few adjustments based on the ingredients I had available. 

  • Substituted equal parts of figs with pitted dates.
  • Skipped honey and lime; I find dates to be sweet enough by itself.
  • Used same types of flour but adjusted the ratios.
  • Substituted almond butter with smooth all-natural peanut butter.
  • Substituted coconut sugar with brown sugar.
  • I skipped oats altogether in the dough mix. 
  • I baked at 350F instead of 400F (I did not pay attention to the oven temperature).

I was a bit hesitant in the beginning with the flour crumble but the more you mix in, it starts to come together and become pliable. Use your clean, dry fingers to pat them down in a baking pan. 

Remember to use only half of flour crumble for the base. You will need the other half to cover the top layer.

These date bars are on the softer side; you will be able to pick it up and eat them easily but I am not too sure about transporting them in Ziplock bags within your purse. It may or may not stay square. Sara suggests leaving them in the refrigerator for an hour or so to help firm them up a bit. 

They are naturally gluten-free (use GF oats) and vegan without any unusual ingredients. I loved the subtle sweetness and mild peanut butter flavor but if you prefer it to be more sweeter, use honey or another liquid sweetener of your choice. You know a recipe is a keeper when you keep going back for seconds (and thirds) and your mom likes them enough to take them for your vegatarian grandmother. I need to just help her pack them and transport it safely to New York. 

Original recipe here

Date Bars (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

for 16 small squares

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups dried dates, pitted
  • 1 cups oat flour
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup brown rice flour (I used Bob's Red Mill
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or any other kind)
  • 1/3 cup smooth all-natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar + 1 Tbsp. for sprinkling
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

Directions

  •  Soak dates in water overnight and drain the liquid.
  • In a processor, blend dates until it resembles like thick, paste consistency. - Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the oat, brown rice and almond flours along with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix everything well using a wooden spoon. 
  • Add the liquid ingredients : almond milk, peanut butter, brown sugar and vanilla. Stir and combine with dry ingredients. 
  • Line a 9x9 baking pan with parchment paper.
  • Using a clean, dry hand, take half the dough into the baking pan and press it down.
  • Use a spoon to spread the date puree on top in an even layer. 
  • Very carefully, crumble the remaining dough on top of the date puree and press it down so it sticks together.
  • Sprinkle the rolled oats and brown sugar on the top layer.
  • Bake for 25-28 minutes or until it is firm and slightly brown. 
  • Remove to cool completely and gently cut into bars with a sharp knife.
  • It can be covered and kept in the fridge for up to a week but the chances are, it won't last that long in my house.

What is your morning ritual like?

And just so we are clear, I am not going vegan. It may seem like it because I just shared a vegan samosa galette recipe only last week.