Recipe: Date Bars

My mom often made Date Bars for me growing up.  She and I were the only ones that ever ate them (my brother wouldn’t eat anything that had “fruit” in it).  When I started doing my own cooking, I remembered this favorite treat and asked her for the recipe.

Since that time, Date Bars have become one of my family’s favorite desserts and they are so very easy to make, and to make allergy-friendly.  I always substitute oat flour* for wheat flour and non-allergy people never notice.  One time, I even used ground Rice Chex because I ran out of oats — I couldn’t believe how well they still turned out.

I always buy whole dates and chop them myself because I found that many of the chopped dates contain an allergen (soy, I think).  If substituting oat flour, keep in mind that they will not “congeal” as well as wheat flour, but the sweet and salty flavor stays the same.

We made Date Bars for friends over the weekend and they loved them. (I had to take pictures for this post — always a nice thing to have to do.  Speaking of, I had some great pictures of the bars and the cooking process but lost them on my finicky memory card.  Sorry for the less-than-ideal picture today…I even forgot to add the powdered sugar to the top.  Don’t forget this step!)  All the adults ended up eating seconds and hiding them from the kids.

Here is the handy, dandy recipe.  You will want to make this “healthy” dessert right away.

dairy-free, egg-free, wheat/gluten-free*, peanut/nut-free, soy-free, corn-free

Date Bars

These are very easily converted into an allergy-friendly dessert by substituting oat flour and non-dairy margarine or oil. (See allergy changes below instructions.)


  • 3 cups dates, chopped
  • 1/4 cups white granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cups butter
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Old-Fashioned Oats
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 cups powdered sugar


1. Make Date Filling: 3 cups cut-up pitted dates (1 lb.), 1/4 cup white sugar, 1 1/2 cups water
Cook all ingredients in saucepan over low heat about 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened; cool 5 minutes.

2. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of 13x9 pan.
3. Mix brown sugar and butter in large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients until crumbly. Press half of crumb mixture evenly in bottom of pan. Spread with filling. Top with remaining crumb mixture; press lightly.
4. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until light brown. Cool 5 minutes. Cut into bars while warm and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
5. Enjoy!

Allergy Changes:
*Substitute 1 3/4 cups oat flour* (grind old-fashioned oats) for wheat flour (Note: The amount of oats needed for oat flour is not included in the ingredient list. The oats listed are for whole oats that are also included in the dessert.)
*Substitute non-dairy margarine or 3/4 cup canola oil for the butter.

*Non-certified gluten-free oats may be cross-contaminated with wheat.  Use with caution.

Update:  I have substitute honey for the sugar in this recipe and they turned out just as good.

You can find this and other allergy-friendly recipes linked up at TGIAFF (Allergy Friendly Friday), Real Food Wednesday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Pennywise Platter, Sweet Tooth Friday, and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

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11 Responses to Recipe: Date Bars

  1. Marce Seddens says:

    Hey Diane, I don’t know if this goes to you or not, but I will make these…
    I will treasure this recipe of your Mom’s (my Aunt), just like all the ones I have that were my Mom’s…Luv U and Aunt Coonie

  2. mandy vasir says:

    Where do you get nut free dates? Thank you.

    • Cook says:

      I buy my dates at Costco. They are from Tunisia and there are no warnings on the container about possible cross-contamination with any allergens. (Costco is generally very good about labeling.) I have also bought dates at my general supermarket, but they are cheaper (and a better quality) at Costco. If you buy whole dates, they shouldn’t contain any additives. So, honestly, I’m a little baffled at dates containing nuts, unless it’s from cross-contamination.

      Does that help you any? If you’re low on the grocery store selection, you can always check on Amazon. Sam’s Club used to carry dates as well, but I don’t know if they still do.

      Let me know if I can help any further.

  3. mandy vasir says:

    Thank you for your response. I was a little concerned seeing as dates are usually sold around nuts or in the ‘nut aisle’ of the grocery store. BUt I wil look into the Costco brand. Thank you.

    • Cook says:

      True, dates usually are sold around nuts and other dried fruit. You will definitely want to read the labels before purchasing because you never know. One thing about the Costco brand, I buy the 3 lb. Golden brand Pitted Dates located in the aisle with dried fruit. Like many of their items, these seem to be seasonal as they do not always carry them throughout the year. I believe they cost under $6 for the container (this is a great price!). They also carry another brand back in the fruit/refrigerated fruit section. This brand is much pricier, but not sure what the difference is. Of all the dates we’ve eaten over the years, these Tunisian ones are a great quality!
      Hope this helps!

  4. Pingback: Allergy Friendly Friday 5/20/11 | Cybele Pascal Allergen-Free Cuisine

  5. Liberty says:

    hmm- might make these for breakfast dessert treat!

  6. Linda says:

    I am partial to bars vs. cooking for ease of baking, and these bars look great. I’m sure the date and oat combination is delicious. Thanks for participating in Gluten-Free Wednesdays.

    • Cook says:

      There is a nice combination of salty and sweet with these bars. They are super easy to make! I have made them gluten-free for “normal” company before and they are shocked by the taste. No one ever knows they are allergy-friendly.

      Thanks for the comment! Hope to see you tomorrow at Gluten-Free Wednesdays. I have a great apple pie recipe to share!

  7. Wow does this look great. I cannot wait to try this recipe. Come visit. We have a terrific pumpkin cheesecake and cranberry couscous on the menu this week.

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