chewy oatmeal date bars {gluten free}

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Whenever we visit The Good Earth restaurant I like to indulge by treating myself to one of their ooey gooey oatmeal date bars. They’re buttery, rich, slightly crunchy on the outside and they have a thick layer of sweet, date filling in the middle.

My goal in creating this recipe was to duplicate the texture and flavor of this famous Minnesota restaurant’s dessert bars, but to make them gluten free. This, my friends, is the result. I did it! First try. *Pats myself on the back πŸ™‚ Date lovers, rejoice!

~ preheat oven to 350 degrees F. ~

for the filling:

2 heaping cups pitted dates, chopped

3 Tablespoons almond flour

1 cup water

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla (I used Trader Joe’s)

Cook the dates, flour, water, brown sugar and cornstarch over low heat until soft and thick. Once thickened, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Set date mixture aside while you make the crust.

for the crust:

3 cups old fashioned rolled oats (not steel cut and not quick-cooking)

1 and 1/2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour

1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup + 2 Tablespoons real, melted, unsalted butter

Combine all dry ingredients. Toss with the melted butter until thoroughly combined. Butter a 9 x 13 glass cake pan. Measure 3 cups of the oatmeal mixture and pour it into the bottom of the buttered pan. Press into an even layer on the bottom of the pan so the crust reaches all edges and corners. Pour the date filling onto the bottom crust and gently smooth it into an even layer using a spoon. Top the date filling layer with the remaining oatmeal mixture. You want 3 even layers that reach all edges and corners. Gently pat the top layer all over.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool a bit before cutting into bars and serving. We like ours plain or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.



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  8 comments for “chewy oatmeal date bars {gluten free}

  1. susan connor
    March 27, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    can I replace gluten free flour and almond flour with regular all purpose flour?

    • Melissa
      March 28, 2014 at 8:24 pm

      Hi Susan!

      You can for the crust, but not for the filling πŸ™‚

      Thanks for visiting,

  2. March 29, 2014 at 5:21 am

    2.0 ADORES date bars! When I did my work term at the bakery last year, I made about 4.7 million of them. Good times… These look absolutely deeeeelightful!

    • Melissa
      March 29, 2014 at 11:37 pm

      Thanks so much! I LOVE these things. Jeff and Gracie love them too. We demolished the very large pan of them in about 3 days. Whoo hoo! Sugar rush! πŸ™‚

  3. Rachel
    April 3, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Can I use raisins or a different dried fruit? Why can’t we use regular all purpose flour in the filling?

  4. Melissa
    April 3, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Hi Rachel πŸ™‚

    Adding white flour to the filling may give the bars that icky, uncooked flour taste. I added the almond flour because it’s gluten free and because it tastes wonderful, as well as being a thickener. If you don’t want to use almond flour in the filling, I think cornstarch would be a better choice for a thickener.

    I’m not sure if you can use a different dried fruit for this because I’ve never tried substituting… but, I think if I didn’t like dates and I wanted to try something else, I’d try good quality, thick fruit preserves! πŸ™‚ (any flavor would work.)

    Here’s another yummy fruit bar recipe you may want to try too! Enjoy. XOXO ~M

  5. Ruth Cobb
    October 21, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Love dates, particularly Medjool. This looks so good. Thanks for the advice about the almond flour, and perhaps using cornstarch.

    • Melissa
      October 24, 2014 at 7:21 am

      My pleasure, Ruth! πŸ™‚ I love dates too. The Medjools would be perfect in these bars. Enjoy! XO ~M

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