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Maple-Date Bars for #SundaySupper

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

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 [1] gang will be sharing Valentine’s Day recipes all afternoon on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest [2] 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 [3] 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 [58]