Cherry Date Oat Bars

These boys are eating me out of house and home. I’m having a hard time keeping up, frankly. Mornings are especially tough. By the time we’ve got lunches in backpacks, shoes on and I’m pulling the door closed behind us, someone is hungry. Again. Still. I dug up these bars from the archives of the dearly departed Whole Living Magazine and adapted the recipe accordingly. (Sidebar rant – why do all my favorite magazines go to the graveyard anyway? Anyone remember Cookie? What about Gourmet?). These wholesome bars are great for breakfast on the go – or a second breakfast if you’re a growing elementary schooler – or an afternoon snack. I’d put them in the lunch box if the school weren’t nut free.

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not the instant kind)
  • 1/2 cup dried sour cherries
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried pitted dates
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup smooth natural almond butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Set the baking rack to the middle.
  • Prepare an 8-inch square baking pan by rubbing olive oil along the bottom and the corners. Line it with parchment paper, allowing the sides to hang over. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the oats, cherries, dates, cinnamon and salt. Stir until combined. In another bowl, combine the honey, almond butter, applesauce, flaxseed meal, orange juice concentrate and vanilla. Stir until uniform in consistency and well-blended. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir.
  • Press the mixture into the prepared pan using the back of a wooden spoon. Bake on the middle rack until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool, then cut into 12 squares. I found it easier to lift the bars from the pan using the parchment paper overhang, then set them on a cutting board to cut. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. Here is a trick I use when measuring honey. Spray the inside of a measuring cup with cooking spray. Pour the honey in the measuring cup, then let it slide right out. Voila! Do this first, then use the same measuring cup to measure the almond butter and applesauce.
  • 2. I don’t keep orange juice around, but I do keep a small can of frozen orange juice concentrate in the freezer for just this reason. It’s good for sweetening up a smoothie or for recipes that call for orange juice. If you have the real stuff, use 3 tablespoons of juice.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 12

4 responses to “Cherry Date Oat Bars”

  1. Nikki says:

    What a great tip for measuring honey!
    These sound great, but I’m not a huge fan of dates. Any suggestions for substitutes?

    • Alicia says:

      I’ve never been big on dates but I bought some to sweeten smoothies (adds a little fiber, too). I didn’t mind them in these bars. If you’re looking for a substitute, try chopped dried apricots or prunes.

  2. Tammi says:

    I also loved Cookie and Wondertime. I didn’t know WL was out of print, but I’m now glad a have a few issues squirreled away!
    Can’t wait to try these bars!

    • Alicia says:

      Wondertime? I didn’t even know about that one! I have saved all my WLs. Good thing a lot of the content is still online. I still have a little stack of Cookie Mags, too.

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