Photo: Johnny Autry; Styling: Cindy Barr
Hands-on Time
18 Mins
Total Time
1 Hour 20 Mins
Serves 16 (serving size: 1 square)

These hearty squares are simple to make and wonderfully portable--they are perfect for packing in lunch boxes or for snacking in the car.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 325°.

Step 2

Line a 9-inch square metal baking pan with parchment paper; coat with cooking spray. Place juice and dates in a food processor; pulse until dates are finely chopped.

Step 3

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in date mixture, syrup, and salt. Remove date mixture from heat. Cool 5 minutes. Stir in oats, cherries, chocolate, and sesame seeds. Spoon oat mixture into prepared pan. Using wet hands, carefully press the mixture into the corners of the pan.

Step 4

Bake at 325° for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes. Place pan in refrigerator; cool 20 minutes. Invert oat mixture onto cutting board; cut into 16 squares.

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Ratings & Reviews

daneanp's Review

January 12, 2014
Yum. I used Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Light Corn Syrup from New Seasons and putting it in the fridge for 8 hours made the bars stick together. Really small serving size though! :(

LuBakes's Review

November 11, 2013
I followed the directions closely and ended up with the same problems as the other reviewers, a crumbly mess. The taste is good, but I already have a granola recipe I like, I wanted a portable bar.

annarea's Review

October 27, 2013
As a kid age 9 my mom let me make these and I LOVE them! Make sure you use Lyle's golden syrup and let it sit over night before cutting. I like them for a snack and they are a really good type of bar. Good job Matisse! :-)

LB1012's Review

October 13, 2013
This tastes very good, but I have made them at least four times, and no matter what I do, they turn into a crumbly mess.... But a pretty tasty mess :)

bubbletoes's Review

September 30, 2013
I found these squares to be delicious but I also had difficulty getting them to hold together. I followed the directions to a tee, even setting a timer for the 10 min to cool and then 20 min in the refrigerator. When I started to cut them I realized before even touching it, it had broken in half! So I put them back into the refrigerator for 2 hours and this seemed to help dramatically! I was able to break them into rough squares.

AliceRutkow's Review

September 08, 2013
I read the other reviews & vowed to follow the directions to the letter given the crumbly outcome that was described. I did everything the recipe said to including the 2-phase, timed cooling and still the bars did not hold together. This recipe basically makes granola, not bars. It's not bad tasting, but it's definitely not easily portable the way the article described. And it's quite sweet for granola.

LeneyB's Review

August 26, 2013
The taste is good, but I couldn't get the bars to hold together... it's more of a crumbly mess. I just sprinkled it in yogurt, but was really looking for a bar recipe.

phoebe1214's Review

August 19, 2013
The flavors were good, but the directions were lacking. 6 dates? What size? 6 medjool dates are twice the amount of 6 dates you get in a package? Wasn't sure. After baking the mixture never really got hard enough to call a real square, too crumbly and sticky.

hcoelho's Review

August 08, 2013
Bars didn't hold together too well. Also, the chocolate chips melted when the butter/date mixture was stirred into them. I would recommend adding them last or letting the butter/date mixture cool a little longer. Very tasty.

medlefsen's Review

July 26, 2013