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Whole-Wheat Date Bars Recipe

Contributors: Nour Zibdeh, MS, RD, CLT

Published: January 24, 2014

Date Bars
Rebecca Clyde, MS, RDN, CD

These Middle Eastern-inspired date bars have no added sugars and are made with whole wheat, 100% fruit, spices and olive oil. Serve them for dessert or as a tasty afterschool snack!




3 cups whole-wheat flour
¼ cup semolina
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons ground fennel
2 tablespoons ground anise
1 tablespoon anise seeds
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons rose water
1 cup 1% milk, at room temperature

Date Filling:

1½ package pressed dates*
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon olive oil


Before you begin: Wash your hands.

  1. To make the dough, mix all dry ingredients (up to the anise seeds) in a medium size bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and incorporate with your fingers.
  2. Add oil and rose water and continue to incorporate with your fingers. Pour in the milk and knead until you have a uniform dough ball. Divide in half.
  3. To prepare the filling, place the pressed dates in a microwave-safe bowl. Add cinnamon and olive oil. Microwave for 30-60 seconds, or until soft. Then, knead until all ingredients are blended together.
  4. Brush a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with olive oil. Separate dough in half; flatten half the dough on your kitchen counter or work surface until it's big enough to cover the dish. Then, flatten all of the dates and place on top of the dough. Repeat with the second half of the dough and place on top of the date layer. Use a roller and parchment paper, especially for the dates, to keep it from sticking on your surface.
  5. Cut into 20 bars diagonally or whichever shape you prefer.
  6. Bake at 350°F (176°C) for 45 minutes. Broil on low for a few minutes until golden.
  7. Serve hot, warm or cold. Yum!

Cooking Note

*Pressed dates can usually be found in Middle Eastern grocery stores. If you can't find them, use soft pitted dates and press or knead them with your hands.

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 1 bar
Serves 20

Calories: 220; Total Fat: 7g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Trans Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 10mg; Sodium: 60mg; Total Carbohydrate: 38g; Dietary Fiber: 5g; Sugars: 21g; Protein 4g;  Vitamin A: 0%; Vitamin C: 0%; Calcium: 6%; Iron: 8%.


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