This adapted Smitten Kitchen recipe is a great way to use dates in a dessert or breakfast square/bar. Dates are very sweet and therefore very little sugar is needed in this vegan recipe.
Ingredients for the filling:
3 cups pitted dates, chopped
1 ½ cups water
Zest of a mandarin/clementine/orange
Ingredients for the crumbs:
4 tbsp. demerara brown sugar
½ cup raw or turbinado sugar
1 cup olive or coconut oil
1 ½ cups large flake oats
1 ½ cups plus 4 tbsp. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. dried nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
Preheat oven to 400F and line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray.
In a medium saucepan, combines dates, water and zest over low heat, simmering for 10 minutes, until liquid has absorbed and mixture has thickened.
Set aside while you make the crumbs.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process the sugar and oil together.
Add the oats, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, and salt and pulse until the mixture forms a coarse rubble.
Press half of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Dollop the date mixture over it and use a small offset spatula to spread the mixture smoothly over the crumbs. Sprinkle remaining crumbs over date layer and press lightly to cover.
Bake bars for 25 minutes, or until light brown at the edges. Cool in pan and then cut into squares. These freeze well.