Food

Orange-Scented Date Crumb Bars

This dessert will fill your kitchen with the brightness of fresh oranges and the warmth of cinnamon.

This dessert will fill your kitchen with the brightness of fresh oranges and the warmth of cinnamon

(Photography by Michael Gozum)

This dessert is sure to fill the kitchen with an incredible aroma; the buttery, crumbly layers are accented with a hint of warm cinnamon to bring out the fresh orange notes in the beautifully gooey centre. With almond meal and oats, this recipe requires less than a cup of flour.

Orange-Scented Date Crumb Bars

Almond meal and almond flour both work well in this recipe, but if you don’t have either, use any nut flour or simply use additional all-purpose flour. Feel free to double the amount of cinnamon for a warmer crumb that will further enhance the orange flavour.

Ingredients

Filling:

  • 2 ½ cups medjool dates (or any dried dates), pitted and chopped (about 25 pieces or 400 g)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 4 tsp firmly packed orange zest

Crumb:

  • 1 ½ cups quick-cooking oats
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup almond meal or almond flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup butter, softened and cubed
  • ⅓ cup toasted slivered almonds (optional)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line an 8-inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. 

Filling:

Combine the dates, sugar, orange and lemon juice with the water in a saucepan set over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir in the baking soda and reduce the heat. Simmer, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until dates have broken down into a smooth paste. Remove from heat and stir in the orange zest. Cool for 15 minutes.

Crumb: 

Stir together the oats, with all-purpose flour, sugar, almond flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Add the butter, and using your fingertips, work it into crumb mixture until fully incorporated and until the mixture clumps when pressed together. 

Scatter half of the mixture into the prepared pan and firmly press it into an even layer. Spread date filling evenly over top. Add the slivered almonds (if using) to the remaining crumb mixture, and add it over the date mixture, pressing lightly. 

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the crumb topping is golden brown. Set on a wire rack to cool completely. Allow at least 4 hours before cutting into bars. Use the parchment paper handles to transfer to a clean cutting board. Cut into full squares (16 portions) or into smaller bars (24 portions). Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days. You can also freeze the squares for up to 3 months: arrange them between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container. 

Yield: Makes 16 squares or 24 bars


Sabrina is owner and Chief Culinary Officer of SF Creative Culinary Services, an all-inclusive content marketing agency, based just outside Toronto serving food & beverage brands all over the world. Follow along on Instagram @sf_creativeculinaryservices

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