Dates? Yes- dates. Dried fruit is HUGE here in Europe. And not just raisins either- dates, prunes, cherries, and apricots. A German apple strudel isn’t truly authentic if there aren’t raisins in it. I will admit though, the majority of my baking is purely American. Outside the raisins, I don’t bake much with dried fruit. Yes, I have recipes for a prune cake and chocolate dried cherry kirsch cake on my site, but that’s two out of like 350… not really a majority, like I said. BUT! That doesn’t stop me from appreciating them- enter Apple-Date Bars!
‘Tis Fall, which in my mind screams- APPLES! And spices… warm, cinnamon-nutmeg-clove-allspice spices. I just looooooove it! And these bars encompass all that. They come together rather easily too. The filling isn’t very complex, cooked to just tenderize the apples mostly. And the cookie crumb mixture is exactly that- a cookie. An oatmeal cookie at that. So if you know how to make cookie dough, you can definitely handle these.
Bonus- they stay incredibly fresh too! I had them for three or four days on the counter and they only softened slightly. I actually thought that they were better the next day, which usually isn’t the way crumb bars go. They tend to soften and lose the appeal of their texture. I can happily say that these kept well.
- For the Cookie Dough:
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups quick-cooking oats
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp baking powder
- For the Filling:
- 2 Braeburn apples, peeled, cored, and diced
- 2 Tb granulated sugar
- 3 Tb water
- 1 Tb lemon juice
- 1 (10 oz) package chopped dates
- For the Filling: In a medium saucepan, combine apples, sugar, water, and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat for 6 minutes or until apples are slightly tender. Add dates, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened. Remove from heat, and cool 15 minutes.
- For the Cookie Dough: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 13×9-inch pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars at medium speed with a mixer until fluffy. Add egg, beating until combined.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, cinnamon, and baking powder. Gradually add to the butter mixture; beat until combined.
- Reserve 1½ cups dough. Press remaining dough into prepared pan. Spread apple-date filling over dough. Crumble reserved dough over filling. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into bars.