Vegan Date Oat Bars

My version of Vegan Date Oat Bars before cutting down into bar sized pieces.

One evening in October, when I was post-photo shoot, starving and tired, I walked into Vintage Grocer in Malibu. I was definitely in the mood to forage for food, so I hit the hot foods section and chose a chicken curry dish. However, my sweet tooth was asserting itself, so I wandered over to the vegan baked goods section. My reasoning was that I would probably be able to find something decently edible in that area which wasn’t too decadent. My gaze landed on a vegan dat oat bar, and it sounded kind of tasty to me, so I selected it.

By some miracle, I waited until I got home to sample the date oat bar. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. I thought it would be good but not mind-blowing.

I took the first bite. WOW.

It was absolutely delicious!

Since then, I have purchased the bar two more times. I have been determined to figure out the exact ratios which make their bars so delectable, but I’ve only experimented twice with my own guess on a recipe which might replicate theirs closely.

The bars I have made have been quite tasty, and I swear I will figure out how to make them as incredible as the ones from Vintage Grocer. I still can’t figure out how Vintage Grocer keeps their bars from crumbling, and I still have to place mine in the refrigerator to set before I cut them into bars.

Here’s my interpretation of these incredible bars:

DR. NAITO’S VERSION OF VEGAN DATE OAT BARS

INGREDIENTS
1. Date Layer:
• 3 cups water
• 3 cups chopped pitted dates
• 8-10 frozen dark cherries, chopped
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2. Bottom Layer:
• 3/4 cup gluten free flour/almond meal blend
• 2/3 cup shredded coconut
• ¼ cup sunflower lecithin
• 1 cup (packed) organic dark brown sugar
• 1-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
• 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
• ¼ teaspoon baking soda
• ¼ teaspoon sea salt
• ¼ cup sunflower lecithin
• ¼ cup vegan butter
• ¼ cup olive oil
3. Top Layer:
• ¾ cup gluten free flour/almond meal blend
• 2/3 cup shredded coconut
• ¼ cup sunflower lecithin
• 1-1/4 cup (packed) organic dark brown sugar
• 1-1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
• 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
• ¼ teaspoon baking soda
• ¼ teaspoon sea salt
• ¼ cup sunflower lecithin
• ¼ cup vegan butter
• ¼ cup olive oil

PREPARATION
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 8×8-inch metal baking pan. Bring water to simmer in medium saucepan. Add dates and cherries; simmer until very soft and thick, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Stir in vanilla.

2. Bottom and top layers:
Combine flour, coconut, sugar, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in two large bowls; stir to blend. Add lecithin and oil. Using fingertips, rub in until moist clumps form. Bottom layer mixture evenly over bottom of pan which has been sprayed with non-stick spray.

Spread date mixture evenly over bottom layer.

Add top layer, and press gently to adhere. Bake until brown at edges and golden brown and set in center, about 50-55 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack, then place in refrigerator for two hours to set.

Remove from refrigerator, cut into bars and serve.

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