Chocolate-Oat-Date Bars Recipe

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They say that the best gifts to give are the ones that you'd want to keep yourself, and there's no question that that will be the case with these decadent Chocolate Date Oat Bars. There are so many occasions to send a care package—whether it's a kid away at sleepaway camp, a friend going through cancer treatment, or just to say I love you—and these bars are up for the task.

Hands On Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 50 mins
Yield:
2 dozen bars

The crust is sturdy enough to withstand shipping, and the date filling offers fruity sweetness without the soggy factor of a jam center. Chocolate chips are up to you, but one thing is not, you'll probably need to bake a double batch to keep some for yourself. They're just that delicious.

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray, for baking dish

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 pound pitted dates

  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 cup (6 oz.) chopped semisweet chocolate

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on long sides.

  2. Whisk flour, oats, sugar, and 1½ teaspoons salt in a large bowl. Add butter and stir until evenly moistened. (Dough should look like wet sand.) Set aside a third of the dough for topping. Using the bottom of a measuring cup, press remaining two-thirds of dough firmly into bottom of prepared baking dish.

  3. Process dates, ½ cup hot water, vanilla, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt in a food processor until smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Transfer to a bowl and fold in chocolate. Spread mixture evenly over dough in baking dish, smoothing with a spatula. Crumble reserved dough over top, pressing gently to adhere.

  4. Bake until top is golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely in pan, about 1 hour. Cut into squares.

    Chocolate-Date-Oat Bars
    Greg DuPree
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