Date Bars

Photo: Yossy Arefi

The underrated dried fruit takes center stage in these chewy, irresistible bars. Martha made this recipe on "Martha Bakes" episode 710.


For the crust

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted cold butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for pan

  • 1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

For the filling

  • 2 cups dried dates, pitted and chopped

  • ½ cup granulated sugar

  • ½ cup apple cider

  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

For the topping

  • cup rolled oats

  • ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

  • ¼ cup packed light-brown sugar

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature


  1. Make the crust: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9-by-9-inch baking pan. Line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang. Butter parchment; set aside.

  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt, and butter. Pulse to combine. Add egg and pulse until evenly moistened. Transfer mixture to prepared pan; press into bottom (use the base of a dry measuring cup or a small offset spatula to help). Freeze for 10 minutes. Bake until lightly golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

  3. Make the filling: In a saucepan, combine dates, sugar, and cider. Cook over medium heat until soft and the consistency of jam. Using a hand blender, puree mixture until smooth. Stir in lemon zest. Spread mixture evenly over baked crust.

  4. Make the topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together oats, flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Using your hands, work in butter to form crumbs. Evenly distribute crumbs over filling to cover. Bake until topping is golden brown and filling is set, 20 to 25 minutes. Run a paring knife around edges of pan to loosen; let cool completely in pan on wire rack. Using parchment overhang, remove from pan; cut into squares using a serrated knife.

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