Bake this bar ahead of time for a portable breakfast or snack that lasts for days.
We can’t stress it enough: Pack the mixture as tightly as possible into the loaf pan. This is essential for the slices to hold together when cut.
Yield: Makes about 16
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
6 large Medjool dates, pitted, chopped
1 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or virgin coconut oil
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup raw almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, or cashews
1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons amaranth
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat an 8 1/2×4″ loaf pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on long sides; spray parchment.
2. Bring dates and maple syrup to a boil in a small saucepan, reduce heat to medium-high, and boil, stirring often, until dates are very soft and maple syrup is slightly reduced, 8–10 minutes. Remove date mixture from heat and stir in butter until it is melted. Mash dates with a potato masher or fork until as smooth as possible. (if you have an immersion blender, it will work, too). You should have about 1 cup.
3. Toss oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, amaranth, and salt in a large bowl. Mix in date mixture until evenly coated. Scrape half of oat mixture into prepared pan and press very firmly and evenly with a rubber spatula to compress it as much as possible. Add remaining oat mixture and press until very tightly packed into pan.
4. Bake, tenting with foil if browning too quickly, until loaf is darkened in color and firm around the edges, and center gives just slightly when pressed, 45–50 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let loaf cool in pan before turning out (it can even sit overnight). Cut into 1/2″-thick slices with a serrated knife.
For crisp bars, lay slices on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F until golden brown, 8–10 minutes, or toast as desired in a toaster oven.
DO AHEAD: Loaf can be made 5 days ahead. Keep tightly wrapped at room temperature.
recipe from: Dawn Perry, BON APPÉTIT January 2014