Date Bars with a Buttery Crumb Crust

Date Bars

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Bar desserts are so easy, they are almost cheating. These date bars with a buttery crumb crust are no exception. You get an entire 9 x 13 pan of goodness for very little time and effort.

This particular recipe has been with me for a very long time. It’s on a 3 x 5 card in what appears to be my once legible handwriting and I’ve indicated that it’s from Bon Appetit Magazine, 1991.

Thank you, Bon Appetit!

Date Bar

Blitz the crust ingredients, blitz the date layer, alternate the layers in a 9 x 13, bake for 40 minutes and voilà!

You are a date bar dessert boss.

Mark my words here: dates are the new freaking blueberry. We don’t know what we don’t know about how good for you dates are, so use them. If you’re going to be afraid of dessert ingredients, be more afraid of all the brown sugar in this recipe (and decrease it if you want) – but don’t be afraid of the dates.

This dessert travels well, can be made a day ahead, and you likely have the ingredients on hand.

Date Bars

Date Bars with a Buttery Crumb Crust
Cook the dates with some sugar and water briefly, blitz them to make a paste. Let it cool a little. Blitz the crust ingredients. Layer and bake.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dessert, party food, Side Dish
Cuisine American


Date Layer

  • 1 pound pitted dates
  • 1 c packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 c water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Crumb Layer

  • 1 1/2 c old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 c packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 sticks cold unsalted butter


Date Layer

  • Remove the pits from the dates and cut them in half. In a medium saucepan, combine the dates, brown sugar, water, and vanilla extract.
  • Bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugar. Stir constantly and simmer for one minute.
  • Let the mixture cool and then purée it into a thick paste.

Crumb Layer

  • Position oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350.
  • Butter a 9 x 13 pan.
  • Combine all crumb layer ingredients in a food processor and blitz until it becomes coarse crumbs.
  • Firmly press half the mixture into the bottom of the greased 9 x 13.
  • Spread all the puréed date layer over the bottom crumb layer. It will be sticky and difficult to spread evenly without disrupting the bottom crust layer. Work slowly and deliberately.
  • Sprinkle the rest of the crumb crust on top of the date layer. Press lightly.
  • Bake about 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
  • Let it cool in the pan, then cut into squares. 
  • Garnish with powdered sugar if desired.


Sprinkle with powdered sugar right before serving. Travels well. Safe to eat if left on the counter for several days.

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