Combine dates, water, and maple syrup in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil; cook 12 minutes or until most liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently. (Mixture will look like jam.) Stir in rind; cool completely.
Preheat oven to 400°.
Beat sugar and butter with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Stir flour mixture into sugar mixture (mixture will be crumbly). Press 2 cups flour mixture into bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Spread date mixture over flour mixture. Sprinkle with remaining flour mixture. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
Wrap these moist bars individually, or place them in a cookie tin between layers of wax or parchment paper.
These were fantastic! I did make 1 and 1/2 the amount of the crumbs as when I put the 2 cups in the bottom of the pan, I had barely enough to "crumb" half of the top. Baked at 375 degrees (convection oven) for 15 minutes and the color/consistency of the crust was perfect!
I was looking for a recipe to use up some whole dates that were too dry to eat on their own. These turned out great! I spread 3/4 of the base in a larger pan, but didn't spread the mix right to the edges. I mixed the remaining topping with about 1/4 cup of roughly crushed almonds and pecans for some crunch.
Unlike other comments, I didn't think these were overly sweet. I'll definitely be making these again.
Made these tonight. Yummy. I used 8 oz dates and when I added the lemon zest, I also added a tsp. of maple extract. My family thought they were very good. I cut the pan into 32 squares because of the "too sweet" comments and they are a nice two bite sweet.
I loved this recipe! I did, however, take some of the other readers' advice and the result was a bar with the perfect amount of sweet. Here's what I did:
I reduced the dates to 7oz (from 12oz) and the water to 2/3c (from 3/4c). I also reduced the sugar to 1/3c (from 2/3c).
Some other notes that may be of interest: I took the suggestion to cook it in a 9x9 pan. I didn't like the thickness of the cookie base, so in the future, I will bake this in a 9x13 pan as directed. I also found that the maple syrup didn't come through as well as I'd hoped. I used pure maple syrup (grade a dark) from a mailorder place in Vermont (excellent quality) but the flavor was not apparent to me. Just a heads up if you are looking for the maple to be the main flavor. I think I'll experiment with maple sugar in the base next time. I also would suggest keeping the filling away from the edges of the pan when spreading it to avoid cooking it and making it rather hard and chewy.
A little too sweet with the dates for my taste but I make a fruit mix with pumpkin, apple, pear, berries; whatever fruit is available, cook it down until it is almost a paste and these turn out delicious. Dried figs are wonderful also when cooked and pureed. These are a favorite anytime.
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