bon appetit describes these bars as something that can be eaten for breakfast, but to me they are really more of a dessert. the sweetness from the dates and the coconut makes them perfect for an after dinner treat!
it's amazing how versatile dates are. we've used them in lots of recipes and they are great because they act as a natural sweetener and have such a deep flavor. the dates in this recipe are cooked down and combined with lemon zest and lemon juice to make a jam puree that is spread on top of a crust made of oats, coconut, and almonds. the whole thing is then topped off with more almonds and coconut!
they have a bit of a tropical flair which makes them seem extra decadent!
coconut almond date dessert bars
prep time: 10-15 minutes
cooking time: 15-20 minutes
baking time: 40 minutes
yields: 16 bars
adapted from bon appetit magazine (march 2016 issue)
6 oz. medjool dates, pits removed
1 cup water
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 cups almonds, divided
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted to a liquid state
4 tablespoons salted butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
in a small saucepan, bring the dates and water to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid has almost completely evaporated. set aside to cool. meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. in a food processor, pulse together the flour, oats, salt, baking powder, and 1 cup of the almonds until the almonds are finely ground. add the coconut oil, butter, sugar, agave nectar, and shredded coconut. pulse to combine. transfer the mixture to a 11 inch by 7 inch nonstick rectangular tart pan with a removable bottom. pack evenly across the bottom of the pan, tamping and smoothing with your hand. the more compact, the better. (note: if your pan does not have a removable bottom, consider lining it with parchment paper and leave an overhang on the sides so that you can easily pull the baked dessert out in one piece to cut it.)
pulse the dates, lemon zest, and lemon juice in the food processor, scraping down the sides as needed, until smooth. spread the date puree evenly over the crust with an offset spatula, leaving a small boarder around the edges. chop the remaining 1/4 cup of almonds and sprinkle them over the top along with the coconut flakes and shredded coconut. gently press down with your hand. bake for 40 minutes, until the top is browned. let cool and then cut into rectangles.