Date bars = yum! Dates + chocolate = yummier! Dates + chocolate + coffee + walnuts = yummiest!
These bars are high in fiber, fairly low in sugar and have staying power to help your big and little people get through their day. Even better? They taste great! Great option if you are avoiding dairy, too.
Note: You can make the oat flour in your blender before making the date filling. No need to clean the blender container before moving on to the dates. Also, you might think the salt on the top is overkill, but that salty-sweet combination is really very nice. Hope you try it!
Chocolate Espresso Date Oat Bars
Yield: 12 - 16 bars
2 cups packed pitted Medjool (or other soft) dates
1 1/4 cup hot water
1 teaspoons espresso powder or instant coffee granules (optional)
1 T cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Base and crumble:
1 1/2 cups oat flour
1 cup + 1/2 cup oats
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted coconut oil (or sub melted vegan butter or regular butter)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
flaky salt, like Maldon's (optional, but super tasty)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper or foil so that you're able to easily remove the bars after. This is important! Grease the parchment paper with nonstick cooking spray.
Prepare the filling first: Add all of the ingredients to a high-powered blender and blend until mostly smooth, about 2 minutes. It's okay if there are a few chunky pieces of dates. Allow date mixture to cool and thicken up a bit for 5 minutes while you make the base.
To make the oat base and crumble: In a large bowl, combine oat flour, 1 cup oats, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir in melted coconut oil until the mixture is crumbly. Measure out 1 cup of the mixture and set aside in a small bowl (this will be for the topping). Press the remaining mixture into the prepared pan; you'll need to press hard to ensure that all of the mixture will stick together well.
Gently spread date mixture evenly on top of the base crust. To the reserved 1 cup of oat mixture, add the remaining 1/2 cup of oats and chopped walnuts; stir well to combine. You can pinch a bit with your fingers to make bigger crumble clusters. Sprinkle over the top of the date filling. Sprinkle the top with flaky salt.
Bake bars for 35 - 40 minutes or until top is set and slightly golden brown. Transfer to wire rack to cool for at least an hour to help set the base, then remove from pan to cool completely. Makes 12 - 16 bars.
Bars are best kept covered in the fridge and are delicious when served chilled as well as at room temperature.