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Whole-Wheat Date Bars

These date-filled bars get their soft texture from applesauce; wheat flour and bran add wholesome notes.

  • Yield: Makes 2 dozen
Whole-Wheat Date Bars

Source: Holiday Cookies 2005, Special Issue Holiday 2005

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups pitted dates (about 11 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for parchment
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup smooth unsweetened applesauce

Directions

  1. Make filling: Bring dates and cider to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, simmer until dates are soft and almost all liquid has reduced, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely. Transfer to a food processor. Puree date mixture until smooth, set aside.

  2. Make dough: Whisk together flours, bran, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl, set aside. Put sugar and zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed 30 seconds. Add butter, mix until combined, about 1 minute. Add egg, mix until fluffy. Mix in flour in 3 batches, alternating with 2 batches of applesauce. Divide dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic; shape into a rectangle. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out 1 piece of dough between two lightly floured sheets of parchment paper to a 9 1/2-by-13-inch rectangle. Dust with more flour, if needed. Remove top piece of parchment. Trim dough to a 9-by-11-inch rectangle. Transfer rectangle on parchment to a baking sheet.

  4. Cut rectangle in half lengthwise. Spread a heaping cup filling down half of each length, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Fold dough over; pinch to seal. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes. Repeat with remaining chilled dough and filling.

  5. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes. Cut into 1 1/2-inch bars. Transfer bars to racks using a spatula; let cool. Bars can be stored in airtight containers up to 3 days.

Reviews (26)

  • dulaneys58 20 Jul, 2011

    will definately be making these. they sound healthy and i love any kind of date cookie.
    by any chance Martha, could you also make a sugar-free version of fig newtons. i need sugar-free versions of cookies for my health and all they have is fat-free, but they do not make a sugar-free version.
    Please help!!!!!

  • kse3470 9 Oct, 2010

    where is the baking soda?

  • JenniferHalpern 31 May, 2010

    Does anyone know if I can substitute Oat bran for wheat bran?

  • ctks 28 Mar, 2010

    Recipe directions mention adding baking soda however no baking soda is listed in the ingredients list.

  • kitkat0708 1 Apr, 2009

    Thanks keesaw for the nutrition facts.

  • justcheryl 24 Mar, 2009

    I would appreciate the nutritional value on recipes to ensure the content.

  • justcheryl 24 Mar, 2009

    I would appreciate the nutritional value on recipes to ensure the content.

  • lilysnana55 23 Mar, 2009

    You could probably use any dense dried fruit if you don't like dates. You might even be able to use canned filling like Solo brand poppy seed or other fillings(not pie filling, too runny). I'm going to try this one; sounds good. I'm also going to pull out my Joy of Cooking and check out that date bar. Thanks for the comments!

  • lilysnana55 23 Mar, 2009

    You could probably use any dense dried fruit if you don't like dates. You might even be able to use canned filling like Solo brand poppy seed or other fillings(not pie filling, too runny). I'm going to try this one; sounds good. I'm also going to pull out my Joy of Cooking and check out that date bar. Thanks for the comments!

  • becky86 23 Mar, 2009

    Is there another filling besides date that I can use?

  • becky86 23 Mar, 2009

    Is there another filling besides date that I can use?

  • becky86 23 Mar, 2009

    Is there another filling besides date that I can use?

  • Junecutie 23 Mar, 2009

    Wow, I'm not sure what happened. I only clicked the submit button once. Sorry about the multiple submissions. Happy Baking!

    Junecutie

  • Junecutie 23 Mar, 2009

    To Ceege: Go to Joyofbaking.com and look at the toolbar on the left hand side. I have used the Date Square, Butter Tart Square, and Millionaire Shortbread Bar recipes with great success. This recipe is good, but I like the ones on Joyofbaking.com better. Anyway, I hope this helps. Much success and many blessings. Regards, Junecutie

  • Junecutie 23 Mar, 2009

    To Ceege: Go to Joyofbaking.com and look at the toolbar on the left hand side. I have used the Date Square, Butter Tart Square, and Millionaire Shortbread Bar recipes with great success. This recipe is good, but I like the ones on Joyofbaking.com better. Anyway, I hope this helps. Much success and many blessings. Regards, Junecutie

  • Junecutie 23 Mar, 2009

    To Ceege: Go to Joyofbaking.com and look at the toolbar on the left hand side. I have used the Date Square, Butter Tart Square, and Millionaire Shortbread Bar recipes with great success. This recipe is good, but I like the ones on Joyofbaking.com better. Anyway, I hope this helps. Much success and many blessings. Regards, Junecutie

  • LynnePolly 23 Mar, 2009

    The quanity for Baking Soda is 1/4 tsp (check the recipe for whole wheat bars w/ raspberries). Recipe sounds great!

  • keesaw 23 Mar, 2009

    Nutrition Facts
    Amount per serving 1
    Calories:
    142.9 kcal
    Water 13.82 g
    Carbohydrate* (54%) 19.95 g
    Protein (6%) 2.18 g
    Total Fat (40%) 6.47 g
    Monounsaturated 1.59 g
    Polyunsaturated 0.33 g
    Saturated 3.78 g
    Cholesterol 24.08 mg
    Dietary Fibre 1.71 g
    Alcohol (0%) 0 g

  • Marielina 23 Mar, 2009

    Whats the qty of Baking soda? it is not in the ingredients list..

  • saabindee 23 Mar, 2009

    I have yet to try this recipe but I think it looks great. Homemade date bars with no perservatives and whole grains. It's worth the work , I think :-)

  • Ceege 23 Mar, 2009

    To Spiceycat

    where do you get the Joy of Baking recipe for the date bar cookies. I went to their site, but it was all about buying recipe books.....I could not find anyway to just get a recipe......

  • keesaw 23 Mar, 2009

    There are a lot of websites where you can put in the ingredients in a recipie and it can figure out the calorie count for you. Just search for it.

  • Yuknevich 23 Mar, 2009

    That is exactly what I was looking for......Do they have the calorie count anywhere on the website?

  • spiceykat 23 Mar, 2009

    This receipe sounds like too much work, too much butter, too, too much. I use the
    excellent Joy of Cooking date bar receipe which is made in a large pan. Lots of compliments plus seconds and thirds.

  • kathypackard 23 Mar, 2009

    I was just thinking the same thing.

  • gardengal101 23 Mar, 2009

    wish these recipes had calorie and nutrition count

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