Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Medjool Date and Chocolate Oat Bars


 

This is a sponsored post, but as always, all opinions are my own.

I don’t know how it has come to be the last week of August, but here we are. The mornings, at least here in Saskatoon, have a notable chill to them, and some of the leaves have started to turn yellow. It has been a very dry, very hot summer and I’m not sure if this change is due to summer ending or the parched landscape the trees find themselves in. Nevertheless, change is coming and I’m here for it. Over the next few months I’ll be celebrating the launch of my second book baby Vegetables: A Love Story, and I can’t wait to share all of the exciting details with you. Stay tuned! In the meantime, I’m here to share with you an absolutely delicious recipe for Medjool date and chocolate oat bars, which I just so happen to be nibbling on as I type this. I just can’t get enough! 






I’ve been a huge fan of Medjool Dates for as long as I can remember. Plump and juicy Natural Delights Medjool Dates are loaded with potassium (50% more than bananas!) and dietary fibre making them an optimal post-workout snack. Medjools are packaged straight from nature, and they are NEVER dried. Because they are a fresh fruit, available year-round, you can find them in the produce section of your local supermarket. Natural Delights Medjool Dates are bathed in sunshine and nourished by the Colorado River. Medjools require a very specific set of growing conditions where high heat, low humidity and plenty of water meet. The date palms are grown in Bard Valley, at the intersection of Arizona, California and Mexico. I love that this whole, fresh fruit gets its natural sweetness from abundant sunshine, and not much else!






Medjool Dates are so good on their own, but they’re also particularly delicious when paired with chocolate and I knew that together they would be quite divine in a crumbly oat bar loaded with oats (obviously), walnuts, and flaxseed. Now that we’re all heading back to work and school, snacks must be packed, and let me tell you, these bars make excellent snackage! The crumb base is easy to pull together, and all of that melted butter makes a good impression. The date filling is nothing more than dates, hot water, vanilla and a pinch of salt. You’ll need a food processor to get them nice and smooth, and chunks of dark chocolate are stirred into the mixture. Spread this over the base of the bar, then top with the remaining crumb topping and bake until golden brown and glorious. These bars taste so good with a cup of tea in the afternoon, and with coffee for a second breakfast, if that’s your style. I love that they’re nutritious, thanks to the Medjools, and they freeze really well in an airtight container. 






Whether you’re trying to cram in all of the summertime fun before fall hits, or you’ve already started hanging up your fall decorations, I hope that all is well with you in your world. Chat soon!


Medjool Date and Chocolate Oat Bars 


2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups large flake oats

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

1 tsp salt, divided

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups butter, melted

1 pound Natural Delights Medjool Dates, pitted

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 cup chopped dark chocolate


1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch pan and line with parchment paper. 

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, walnuts, brown sugar, flaxseed, 1/2 tsp salt and cinnamon. Stir in the melted butter. The mixture will feel like wet sand. Set aside one-third of the flour mixture for the topping. Press the remaining mixture firmly into the bottom of the preparing pan - using the bottom of a measuring cup works great for this. 

3. Add the dates, 1/2 cup hot water, vanilla, and remaining salt to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process the mixture until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Transfer the date mixture to a bowl and stir in the chopped chocolate. 

3. Spread the date and chocolate mixture evenly over the crust, smoothing with an offset spatula. Crumble the reserved flour mixture on top, pressing gently to adhere. 

4. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 35-45 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan before cutting into squares. Store in a covered container at room temperature for up to 4 days. I also like eating them cold from the fridge, too.  Makes about 16 squares.





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