PREPARATION TIME: 45 minutes
INGREDIENTS (makes 8 square bars)
For the date-espresso jam:
- 17 Medjool dates (pitted)
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the oat crumble:
- 3/4 cup oat flour (finely ground oats)
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 5 tablespoons demerrera sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 70% dark chocolate, roughly chopped (100 g bar of chocolate)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
You will also need: A an 8X4 inch baking tin
Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F.
Grease an 8X4 inch baking tin with vegetable oil, line with parchment paper and set aside for later.
Start by making the date-espresso jam. In a bowl, stir in the coffee granules and vanilla extract into the hot water. Soak the pitted dates in the warm liquid and set aside while you make the oat crumble.
In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the crumble; oat flour, rolled oats, demerera sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Slowly, pour the vegetable oil into the dry ingredients and stir through with a fork until it turns into a course sand-like crumble in texture.
Note: Alternatively, you could substitute the oats flour (ground oats) with almond meal (ground almonds) if you fancy switching it up a bit!
In a blender, pour in the dates along with the coffee liquid and blend until smooth. Next, set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture for the topping and tip the rest over into the baking tin and press it down with the help of a spoon or your hands.
Generously spread the sticky date-espresso jam over the compact base. Next, roughly chop the dark chocolate into small chunks and evenly scatter it over the jam.
And lastly, sprinkle over the leftover oat crumble to finish the top layer.
Place in the oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes or until you can visibly see the crumble catching a lovely golden brown colour.
Once out of the oven, set aside to cool for at least an hour on a wire rack. This step is essential for your oat bars to properly firm up.
Slice up the bars into squares and serve! These can be stored in the fridge for a few days, ideally they should stay fresh longer but it’s not as pleasant to eat soggy oat bars!
While making the date-espresso jam, do not add water to ease the blending as that would change the consistency and the liquid would make the bars soggy once baked.
When preparing the crumble base, think of it as a method similar to a cheesecake base, if it’s not compact enough the bars won’t hold their shape as you bite into them.
If you give this recipe a go, I’d love to see how it turned out. Leave a comment below and share your pictures on Instagram using the tag #thecookbooklife!
Enjoy your healthy-ish oat bars!