Chewy Date and Walnut Bars | Reader's Digest

Chewy Date and Walnut Bars

Modify this recipe with dried fruits, such as cranberries or raisins, for a variety of tasty snack bars.

from Eat to Beat Diabetes

Quick look

  • prep 15 min    cook 20 min
  • serves 16
Chewy Date and Walnut Bars Chewy Date and Walnut Bars

These chewy snack bars are a special treat for lunchboxes as well as for a midday snack or coffee break. Only a little reduced-fat margarine and oil are needed for the dough. Dates are added for natural sweetness, and walnuts and sunflower seeds provide extra texture. The result is both nutritious and delicious.

Homemade snack bars are also less expensive than store-bought versions.

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat margarine spread
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/3 cup dried pitted dates, chopped
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds

    How to make it  35 minutes

  • 1

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 9 x 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

  • 2

    Place the margarine, oil, sugar, honey, and orange zest and juice in a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring until the butter has melted. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the dates and walnuts. Add the oats, making sure they are evenly coated with the butter mixture.

  • 3

    Spread the mixture in the prepared pan, pressing it down firmly and evenly. Sprinkle the sunflower seeds over the top and press down lightly to embed the seeds in the surface.

  • 4

    Bake until golden brown around the edges, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan. When cool, turn the bars out onto a cutting board and slice into 16 bars. The bars can be kept in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Makes 16 bars.

More Ideas
Sprinkle the top of the bars with pumpkin seeds instead of the sunflower seeds. Other dried fruits, such as dried cranberries or raisins, can be added to the dough mixture in place of the dates.

Apricot and hazelnut snack bars: Substitute 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots for the dates and 1/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts for the walnuts.

FACTOID:

Up to 95% of the calorie content of dates comes from natural sugars, but because of their fiber content — and additional fiber from the oats in this recipe — the body can keep the release of glucose into the bloodstream at a steady pace, resulting in a gentle and sustained rise in blood sugar levels for long-term energy, rather than a sudden rise for a quick energy fix and then a fast dip.

Nutritional Information(per serving)

  • Calories: 103
  • Calories from Fat: 34
  • Fat: 4g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 12mg
  • Carbs: 16g
  • Sugars: 8g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Fiber: 2g

Oats are an excellent source of soluble fiber, which can help to reduce high blood cholesterol levels.

Exchanges: carbohydrate 1, fat 1/2