During the summer I had an unabashed addiction to Larabars. Raw, natural and delicious, I was partial to the Cherry Pie, Chocolate Mint and the Chocolate Coconut bars but didn’t want to spend all my hard-earned cash on those pricey treats. So instead I headed to the grocery store, bought a bag of dates and figured I’d make my own. Unfortunately, when I got home I realized that making Larabars would probably necessitate the use of a food processor (which I don’t have) and I didn’t feel like finely mincing up dates by hand. What can I say, I can be a lazy bugger at times. Instead, I put those dates away in the cupboard for a less labour intensive use. Weeks had gone by and I kept those dates on the brain. I began to think about making some traditional oatey date squares, or matrimonial cakes, as they are sometimes known as but I never remembered to ask my mom for her traditional recipe. Instead, I made these chewy, nutty squares that resemble a chewy blondie rather than a traditional date square. Not only do these use applesauce in place of butter, but along with a pot of hot tea, it helps to take the chill off a damp evening. It may not be raw or low fat (damn, those nuts!), but these bars are delicious. Yum.
chewy date-nut squares
1 1/4 c pitted dates, finely chopped
2 T rum
1/4 c applesauce
1/4 c white sugar
1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 t baking powder
1 c walnuts, chopped
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9-inch square pan.
2. In small bowl, mix dates and rum and set aside.In a large bowl beat egg until frothy. Add in applesauce and sugar and mix until pale. Beat in flour and baking powder just until blended. Stir in walnuts and rum-date mixture. Spread in pan.
3. Bake about 30 minutes, until edges are golden and the centre is firm to the touch. Cool in pan and then cut into squares.
Yum! I love dates and I bet this is just delicious!
I read your post on Larabars a while ago and went in search of them. I bought a few flavours to try out and was hooked!
I currently have 12 Larabars in my kitchen cupboard in all kinds of flavours…the beau and I really like ’em and I’ve been very protective of my favourites…banana cake, chocolate coconut, pecan pie…
Who would have thought that dates can taste that good. I never really acquired a liking to dates. I once had a date square and did not like it at all. Way too sweet and sticky.
Now that I’m on my restricted meal plan, guess who is revisiting dates?! :^D
I love Larabars! How can you not? I’m a big fan of the Apple Pie…
Larabars rock – Plus they are located in Denver and the people there are super cool. They are totally worth your support and hard earned dollars.
these sound really great, especially since rosh hashanah is coming up this week!
jennifer, they totally were! i gave my mom the recipe and she made them without sugar and said it was perfect.
joanne, i agree, dates are pretty great!
christianne, i haven’t tried that flavour yet! i’ll definitey put on my list of flavours to try.
k, good to know! thanks.
lara stein, i didn’t think about that at all. a very good treat indeed!
oh, jeannette, i totally love larabars! i first tried one in the summer of 2003, a few months after they first came out. it just so happened that i discovered them while in denver (their birthplace). you’re right, though, they’re expensive. so for now i’m sticking to packing luna bars into my school bookbag on most days. the larabar will be an occasional treat. or i’ll keep an eye out here in case you decide to try making them and post a recipe. 🙂
I made these last weekend (thanks for the recipe!). My husband hates dates, but loved these bars. Quite yummy!
I made these for my roomates when we found a package of dates in our pantry and OH MY GOODNESS they were delicious. Great recipe, I can’t get over how well it worked. I topped them with a little brown sugar and some oats. Do you think you could use the same method with different fruit/nut combos?
emeraldtiger, i do love those lara bars and one day will try making one of my own!
lisa, glad your date-hating husband gave these a shot! they’re pretty tasty.
karen, i’d definitely try these with other fruits & nut combos. let me know how it goes!
Hey – just letting you know I gave these a try tonight and blogged my version. Made a few changes (as always!) but absolutely delicious and so easy. I’ll definitely be making these again!
Go to ‘Thus Bakes Zarathustra’ if you’d like to check it out!
Do you think the all purpose flour could be replaced with Gluten Free Flour in this recipe?
Margaret, I’ve never tried it out – but if you do, please let me know how it turns out! Thanks!