Something with a natural, earthy sweetness that conjured up images of early spring and melting snow. Like a walk through a sleeping forest, just before a brilliant spring awakening.
Don’t mind me, just highlighting how it feels to taste the chewy goodness of the maple date bars. Their thick, creamy goodness is to die for and with zero sugar, it’s a cheat code for any dessert request as it’s both sweet and healthy.
The crust, the sticky date filling, and even the dollop of thick cream on top are all sweetened with maple syrup. Just a touch. And since there’s no processed sugar, you can feel just a little better about serving these to your kids, and if you’re lucky, about eating them for breakfast the next morning. So how do you make them? Well, let’s get started then.
For the Filling:
- 1 3/4 cup pitted, chopped dates (about 8 oz)
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp orange extract
For the Crust:
- 1 cup butter, very soft (nearly melted)
- 2/3 cup pure maple syrup (room temperature or slightly warmer)
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (or gluten-free flour mix)
- 1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/4 tsp coarse fleur de sel or French gray salt
For the Cream:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
- Preheat your oven to 400 F (200 C). Generously butter a 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Prepare the filling by mixing the water, dates, and 2 tablespoons maple syrup in a small saucepan.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 7 minutes, until the mixture is very thick and resembles jam. Remove from the heat and stir in the orange extract. Set aside while you prepare the crust.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the butter and 2/3 cup maple syrup together until smooth. Stir in the flour, oats, baking soda, and fine sea salt. The mixture will be moist and sticky. Using your fingers, spread and press 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of the greased baking dish (it helps if your fingers are slightly damp).
- Spread the date filling evenly over top. Spread the remaining dough on top of the filling with damp fingers. It’s fine if some of the fillings show through. Sprinkle the fleur de sel on top
- Bake for 25 minutes. Allow cooling before slicing into 18 bars.
- When ready to serve, combine the cream and maple syrup in a cold bowl. Whisk until the cream has somebody, but can still be poured. Top each bar with a drizzle of maple cream.
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