Baking with Leftovers: Dried Dates

date crumble

The other night, I made this date newton recipe and while it turned out great, I was left with quite a bit of extra date puree and decided to bake off some date bars. After searching for the best recipe (selected solely based on the ingredients I had in-house – a grocery store run felt far too difficult of an activity), I realized that while this dessert is fruit based, it is hardly a heart healthy treat.

Not one to usually alter recipes (I’ve had far too many culinary failures by using “creative liberty” in the kitchen), I was hesitant to substitute olive oil for butter in order to create a slightly better-for-you alternative. Luckily, the experiment went well and actually yielded some pretty yummy results.

~ Filling ~
1/2 lb dried pitted dates
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water

~ Crust ~
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp olive oil (originally 1/2 cup butter)
1 cup quick oats
1 cup whole wheat flour

In a medium sauce pan, bring the dates, vanilla, orange juice, and water to a boil. Cover and simmer until dates take on a jam-like consistency. Remove from heat & let cool. In a food processor, mix until all ingredients have combined into a smooth paste. 

Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a separate bowl, combine all crust ingredients and blend by hand. Using half the mixture, line the bottom of an 8 x 8 pan (any size will do but if it’s too large, you may not get the crispy crusts that make crumbles so delicious!). Spread the cooled date mixture onto the bottom crust and layer remaining crumble on top. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Allow crumble to cool for 20-30 minutes prior to cutting.

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