These perfect granola bars are great for breakfast or just as a snack.
ON MY FIRST visit to the Palm Springs farmers market, I came across a date seller who had the most amazingly plump dates I have ever seen. One bite and I was in love. A few weeks later, I visited their farm: 7 Hot Dates run by the Bautista family outside Palm Springs.
I had no idea how much work goes into growing dates. From hand pollinating, removing thorns, climbing up and down ladders, adding nets so the birds don’t eat the fruit: it’s not just picking dates. But when it is time for picking, it’s done in August, the hottest month of the year, when the temperature can be 120oF. They grow seven types of organic dates, and they ship to all over the U.S. and Canada. Find out more at7HotDates.com.
Makes 16 Squares
8 large sweet dates, like medjool, pitted and chopped
1 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups steel-cut oats
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup pepitas
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9-inch x 9-inch ovenproof baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium saucepan, stir together dates, maple syrup, and butter, bringing syrup just to a boil.
- As soon as the butter has melted, remove from heat. Then, with an immersion blender, purée the mixture into a thick syrup.
- Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl, and add the warm syrup. Mix well.
- Spoon mixture into the prepared baking pan, and with the spoon, press smooth and into the corners.
- Bake for about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pan on a wire rack.
- Cut into bars or squares and keep in an airtight jar.
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