Ottolenghi’s new book Sweet is my favourite cookbook of the year. I have lost count how many times I have paged through it and there are so many recipes I want to try but unfortunately there is no chance that it will happen. These Date and Oat Bars is the second recipe from the book I have made. The first being these slightly over the top but so incredibly good Middle Eastern Millionaire’s Shortbread.

Date and Oat Bars

The Date and Oat Bars are not only a great addition to your holiday baking but will also make a welcome home baked gift to give and receive. I tweaked the recipe slightly (even if it is an Ottolenghi recipe) and decided to take out the orange blossom water and used vanilla, coffee and cacao nibs (for a bit of chocolate bitterness) to change the flavour profile of the bars.

Date and Oat Bars

The bars smell so good when they are baking. Even though the recipe is packed with loads of nuts and seeds, I won’t go as far as calling them healthy as there is quite a bit of sugar in the recipe. The bars are quite soft when baked but they will firm up if placed in the fridge (I stored them in them in the freezer and let them defrost for a few minutes before eating.

The bars are utterly delicious, loads of nutty texture, chewy centers and a caramelly toffee flavour. I also loved the orange zest coming through. They are quite thick if baked in a 20cm x20cm tin (my preference) and you will get a thinner bar if using a  20cm x 30cm baking tin as per the original recipe.

Enjoy!

Date and Oat Bars

Date and Oat Bars

Ingredients

  • 50g almonds skin on
  • 50g cashew nuts
  • 200g rolled oats
  • 35g pumpkin seeds
  • 35g sunflower seeds
  • 15g sesame seeds
  • 15g cacao nibs (optional)
  • 120g large medjool dates, pitted and chopped into 6 pieces each
  • 200g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 180g demerera sugar
  • 75g date syrup or golden syrup
  • finely grated zest of 1 small orange
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C
  2. Grease and line a 20cm x 20cm baking tray or a 20cm x 30cm baking tray (for a thinner bar)
  3. Spread the almonds and cashew nuts out on a separate tray and roast for about 10 minutes until the nuts are lightly browned
  4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before roughly chopping
  5. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside
  6. While the nuts are in the oven, place 80g of the oats in a food processor and roughly blitz, you want them broken in small pieces rather than a powder
  7. Add the blitzed oats back with the other oats and set aside
  8. Place the seeds in a dry frying pan and toast the seeds over a medium high heat for about 5 minutes until toasted (the pumpkin seeds will begin to pop)
  9. Add the seeds to the nuts, add the dates and cacao nibs and mix it into the oats
  10. Place the butter, sugar, syrup, zest, vanilla, cinnamon, espresso powder and salt in saucepan and place over a medium low heat
  11. Stir gently until the butter has melted (don’t worry if all the sugar has not melted by that time) and pour over the oat mixture
  12. Mix well and spoon into the lined baking tray and press down evenly with the back of a spoon
  13. Bake for about 35 minutes (a bit longer if you are using the 20cm square tin) until bubbly and dark golden brown
  14. Remove from the oven and let it cool for about 30 minutes before cutting into bars or squares as you prefer (I got 15 bars out of the 20cm square tin)
  15. Leave the sliced bars in the tin until completely cooled otherwise they will crumble and fall apart if you lift them out while still warm
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A few more of my favourite cookie and biscuit recipes :

Peanut Butter Caramel Slices

Peanut Butter Caramel Slice

Olive Oil Espresso Choc Chip Cookies

Olive Oil Espresso Choc Chip Cookies

Flourless Almond Butter Cookies

Almond Butter Biscuit

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