Healthy date bars

Healthy date bars

healthy date bars macro

My house sounds horrendous as I type this. It feels like there is an angry bull downstairs launching itself at the walls and running around with an electric saw. The reason being that we are finally having our original Victorian floor (we felt so incredibly lucky to discover it underneath a horrible carpet!!) insulated and relaid to fix serious sloping issues and to join it with the kitchen-diner floor. In the next phase, all of the downstairs floor will be sanded and varnished – there is a lot of pressure to pick the right colour (argh…not again!!).

We’ve been waiting for this to happen for months, first it was our warm weather induced procrastination that delayed things (as other things had to be done before the floor) and then our contractor was fully booked until now. This work will transform our downstairs living space – we cannot wait to see the floor in its full glory. So excited.

I don’t want to be seen as breathing down my floor guys’ necks so I am politely keeping away, although I would love to actually be able to sit there and watch the process required to do this – I can be geeky like that. Especially now that we finally own a house, both Duncan and I find that we are suddenly really interested in learning about our house’s construction, DIY tips and tricks etc – generally all things I used to let in one ear and out the other – it’s funny how things change…

Recipewise, I concocted a bit of a sweet yet healthy treat for today. As you might have read, I vowed to quit sugar for January as my sweet cravings got out of control over Xmas and I didn’t like the feeling at all. I am surprised to say that it has not been too bad, even the first few days did not see me craving sweet stuff too much, however I did permit myself a date or sometimes two on a daily basis. It was chocolate, cookies and cakes in particular that I wanted a bit of a break from, so a bit of natural sweetness was okay, I decided.

So these date and tahini bars are a healthier take on these ones I made last year. They are bound together by a thick date paste and ground up flax seeds and if you are feeling extra indulgent, I suggest coating them in a chocolate glaze sweetened with maple syrup (or more dates if you would rather…).

I’ve always loved the combination of sweet dates and nutty, ever so slightly bitter, tahini. I really feel that they belong together – I am sure that it is no coincidence that they both hail from the same geographical area – so I have combined them together again in these baked bars full of nuts and seeds and a smattering of DIY chocolate. I really love the result and I hope that so will you. Enjoy!

healthy date bars dates

healthy date bars mixing

healthy date bars prep

healthy date bars decoration

healthy date bars

makes
8-10 bars
PREP
15 min
COOKING
30 min
makes
8-10 bars
PREPARATION
15 min
COOKING
30 min
INGREDIENTS
BARS

TOPPING

  • 37 g / 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup (skip if using 250 g / 9 oz dates)
  • white sesame seeds, to garnish
  • sea salt flakes, to garnish
METHOD
  1. Pit the dates and soak them in boiling water for 20 minutes. Use 250 g / 9 oz of dates if you want to use date paste (rather than maple syrup) to sweeten the chocolate layer too.
  2. Meanwhile, line a small baking tin (I used a 2lb / 900 g baking tin*) with a piece of baking paper and preheat the oven to 150° C / 300° F.
  3. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Place drained dates in a food processor, together with vanilla essence and tahini and process until smooth. Add 30 ml / 2 tbsp (not more!) of boiling water to keep the machine going without getting jammed. Process for 5 minutes, until super smooth and a thick paste forms. If using dates for the chocolate layer, save ¼ cup of the paste for later.
  5. Stir the date / tahini mixture through the nuts and seeds mixture, ensuring it is evenly distributed throughout. You may need to use your hands to do this as the paste is thick.
  6. Spread the mixture in the paper-lined baking tin. Press the mixture down really well so that there are no gaps / air pockets and the bars hold together well. Use a piece of baking paper with a flat-bottomed glass on top to be able to pack the mixture better.
  7. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, they should be browned, no longer super soft / raw to the touch.
  8. Take out of the oven and compress the mixture again using the upside down glass trick. Then weigh it down with something heavy while the mixture is cooling down. Allow it to cool down completely before cutting or applying the topping.
  9. Melt coconut oil on a low heat, stir through cocoa powder and maple syrup (or date paste – see NOTES).
  10. Spread the chocolate layer on the cool bars, sprinkle with sesame seeds and salt flakes and refrigerate until the topping has set.
  11. Cut into equal size pieces with a sharp knife. Store the bars in an airtight container.

NOTES
*I used a 2 lb / 900 g cake tin of the following dimensions: 18.5cm / 7″ x 8cm / 3″ x 6cm / 2.5″. (I used one like this).

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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
272
14%
sugars
18 g
19%
fats
18 g
25%
saturates
5 g
24%
proteins
6 g
12%
carbs
28 g
11%
*per bar
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5.0
5 reviews, 21 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Scott:
These bars are delicious! Quick breakfast bar, alternative to a cookie? Yes! Thank you for this recipe. I don't have a food processor, but I did okay with a stiff wire whisk and a glass bowl, just making a mash. It probably had a bit more texture than the processed paste, but it worked.
With the leftover tahini (it doesn't seem to come in small containers) I made a healthy tahini hummus and a not-so-healthy halva.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Scott! I'm delighted to hear that you enjoyed them and thanks so much for taking the time to review - I really appreciate it! x Ania
Rafael:
Hi Ania
This is a great recipe, thanks for sharing. I just tried doing it now, but the chocolate topping seemed too liquid, so not sure if the mixture will settle completely on the top of the bar. Maybe I should put less coconut oil next time? What do you think might have gone wrong?
Many thanks!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Rafael,
    I'm glad you like this recipe. As for the glazing, give it time - the filling will set in the fridge. It's the coconut oil that makes it set so I would definitely not recommend reducing the amount. Ania
Marie:
This is so good! I like the idea that there is no sugar. Then I also used dates for the chocolate topping. Actually I try as much as I can to bake without sugar and dates are a good alternative. I will definitely do these bars again and maybe try to prepare a nut free version then my children can eat them at school .
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Marie. I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed them! And thanks so much for taking the time to let me know that they were a hit. Ania
Aysha Rasul:
Can i use rolled oats instead of puffed rice?
Please reply
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Aysha,
    I think so but it will make the bars way more dense and you may need more wet ingredients. Hope it works out well for you. Ania
Kate:
So many recipes call for drippy tahini. What are we supposed to do with the rest of the tahini?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Kate,
    Natural tahini (made only out of sesame seeds) tends to separate as it stands around as it has no stablisers to stop that process so the best way it to stir the thick part back into the drippy part. If it's hard going, do it in a food processor. Otherwise, simply use the thick part on your toast, it won't be as messy to eat. Hope this helps! Ania
Margo Buckton:
Working on 10 bars and 250g medjool dates the calories per bar are 297.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Great, thanks!
Louise:
Hi, could you tell me what the nutrition value is please? Thanks
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Louise,
    I am sorry but I don't have a way to calculate this information currently. I am planning on adding this function to my new website in a few months. Ania
Aniu, jak długo można przechowywać te batoniki w lodówce?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Mysle, ze 5-7 dni w szczelnym pojemniku na pewno. Mozna je tez zamrozic. Pozdrawiam! Ania
tweetie:
Just made these and they are so yummy when you want that 'sugar' fix
    Ania
    Ania:
    I'm so happy to hear that, thanks so much for letting me know that you enjoyed them. x Ania
Deborah:
Hi. Your recipes sound amazing. Am trying to find your date paste recipe?
Thank you
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you for your kind words but I don't understand your question - date paste is explained in the recipe Method. Hope that's what you mean. Ania
Gemma Herincx:
Thank you thank you. The ultimate item in a healthy date bar. What more could I ask for that something that gives all that energy goodness sweetness and indulgence when you have little time and before two hours fitness training. 😊😊 Gemma x
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thanks Gemma! I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed these and I agree - they are a perfect thing to have a few hours before or straight after some strenuous exercise. x Ania
Allison Smith:
Please keep the sugar free recipes coming, I, too have given up sugar as I did love all the Christmas treats, but it is now time for sugar and I to go our separate ways, I look forward to making this, and you could even substitute the puffed rice with either quinoa or amaranth
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Allison, I will do as sugar dependency is my ongoing battle :P. x Ania
Alpa:
What is upside down glass trick?
    Ania
    Ania:
    I explained it in point 6 of the method - I press the mixture with a flat-bottomed glass, turned upside down, to make sure all the ingredients bind together better and the bars do not fall apart after baking.
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