Maple-Date Bars for #SundaySupper

Maple-Date Bars

Most people crave a gooey chocolate dessert on Valentine’s Day. Not the Grillmaster. If I make him something involving dates, he’s one happy guy. He’s been known to stand with an open cookie tin protectively in one hand and a Maple-Date Bar in the other with a look that says “I dare you to try and take these away from me.”

These bars are a special occasion treat, not something you eat every day. But when you crave a tiny bite of something sweet to round out your meal or you need a dish that says “I love you” to your date-loving significant other, there’s nothing better. Dates are packed with vitamins and other nutrients, including dietary fiber, antioxidants, iron and potassium.

What’s your favorite Valentine’s Day splurge?

Maple-Date Bars

Slightly adapted from Cooking Light
Maple-Date Bars
1-3/4 cups finely chopped pitted medjool dates
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
Cooking spray

Combine dates, water and maple syrup in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then cook, stirring frequently, until most liquid is absorbed (about 12 minutes). Mixture should look like jam. Remove from heat and stir in zest. Cool completely.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking soda and salt. Beat sugar and butter with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Stir flour mixture into sugar mixture (it will be crumbly).

Coat an 11- x 7-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Press 2 cups of mixture into bottom of pan. Spread date mixture over flour mixture. Sprinkle remaining flour mixture on top.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely in pan on wire rack, then cut into 20 bars.

Makes 20 servings
Per serving: 180 calories, 5g fat (3g sat), 12mg cholesterol, 46mg sodium, 33g carb, 2g fiber, 21g sugar, 2g protein

The #SundaySupper gang will be sharing Valentine’s Day recipes all afternoon on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram on Sunday, February 10, 2013. We will also have a live chat at 7 p.m. EST on Twitter and will be using the hashtag #SundaySupper. We look forward to answering questions, giving tips and inspiring you to spend more time Around the Family Table with those you love! Thanks to Jen of Juanita’s Cocina for hosting this event.

#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Breakfasts, Apps & Main Dishes:

#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Sweet Eats:

#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Drinks:

#SundaySupper Valentine’s Day Tablescape: A Romantic Table For Two Please from An Appealing Plan


  1. says

    Thank you, Shelby for this luscious-looking and sounding recipe. Your maple date bars are mildly reminiscent of the delightful cookies my grandmother, Nona used to bake. And quite frankly, I wish I had some right now!

  2. says

    I love the flavor of dates and for whatever reason I forget about baking with them. I certainly will not forget about this recipe. Yummy!

  3. says

    I’m so so glad you posted these! I’ve been meaning to try baking with dates, so I bought a container of them but haven’t used them yet. Thank you for the inspiration! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  4. says

    I love maple and dates, and these make such a welcome change from the chocolate overload of this holiday – wonderful!

  5. says

    I am happy with something made with dates, too! These beauties look decadent and delicious!!! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  6. says

    Oooh, these sound wonderful! I love the use of dates: reduce the guilt a bit? ;) I’m all for that, especially when the dessert is still decadent!

  7. says

    Since I am not a chocolate lover, I love this recipe! My mom makes a date bar with powdered sugar. I love that you have a crumble top, they look so delicious! Hugs, Terra

  8. says

    I’ve been wanting to bake with dates for a while now and this would be the perfect recipe to start with. They look fabulous, so gooey and chewy inside, with that beautiful, buttery, crispy topping. I don’t blame your husband for protecting these – I would too!

  9. says

    I found these by following a link someone else gave, and I was keen to check out your site since it’s called “Diabetic Foodie”, but these don’t look very diabetic, with 33gr carb and 21gr sugar per serving. Has anyone “diabetic-ized” them, especially taking out the white flour?

  10. diabeticFoodie says

    TracyKM – thank you so much for this comment. My philosophy about eating is that there’s no such thing as a “diabetic” diet. I count my carbs at each meal and snack and, as long as I stay within the limits that my CDE and doctor came up with, I am able to maintain good blood sugar control. Obviously I prefer to get my carbs from foods that have a lot of fiber and a low glycemic index, but I do allow myself occasionally to have a low-carb dinner and something like one of these maple-date bars as dessert. I don’t do it often and I don’t recommend that anyone else do it if it doesn’t fit into their meal plan. Diabetes self-management is a very personal thing – what works for me may not work for someone else. Of course, now I’m dying to try these bars with whole grain pastry flour – thanks for the idea!

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