These bars are kind of like Lara Bars or Thunderbird Real Food Bars and they are a great source of quick and lasting energy. The combination of toasted pecans, dates, maple flavoring, and a little Himalayan salt is delicious! A bit of fresh lemon sets off the sweetness, just right, too. And, they are easy-peasy to make. Simply puree the dates and mix with the rest of the ingredients. Flatten them into a casserole dish and chill until cold enough to cut! Pack them in your lunch or backpack for a quick picker-upper!
Courtsie and I were starving after a hot yoga class one day and stopped at a local cafe on our way home. When we spied the Texas Maple Pecan Bar it looked like the perfect energy snack that we were craving. It was so delicious that we went home and immediately started plotting out our own recipe. This is the recipe we came up with and we are very happy with the results.
Dates are a great source of dietary fiber and carbohydrates in the form of fruit sugar. Due to the natural fiber, the fruit is low on the Glycemic Index, and this helps to slow down the sugar absorption, resulting in a no-crash source of energy. Medjool dates, grown in Israel and other parts of the Mediterranean, are known for their soft texture and honey-like taste. We use them in our Waioli Date Bars (we will share that recipe soon) and also in this recipe. I think they’d be wonderful skewered with chicken and shallots for a fun Mediterranean kebab, too.
Toasting the pecans makes these bars extra-delicious and maple flavoring is a key component, too. If you have trouble finding maple extract at your grocery store, you can find several suppliers online. Cook’s puts out a pure maple extract that you can buy on Amazon or through Walmart, too. If you can’t find it at all, then just add a teaspoon of pure maple syrup!
Maple Pecan Date Bars
- 1 lb. Medjool dates pitted
- 1 cup toasted pecans chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
- 1/2 teaspoon maple extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Line 8-inch square dish
- Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper.Spray paper with cooking spray.We like to leave little tabs on two sides of the parchment paper for taking the bars out of the baking dish.See the photo below.
Toast the Pecans:
- Preheat oven to 350 F.Place pecans on a baking sheet and bake for about 8-10 minutes, just until beginning to brown.They will smell fantastically aromatic as they are toasting. Keep an eye on them, because you can burn pecans in the blink of an eye!Remove from oven when toasted and cool.Once cooled, finely chop. Set aside.
Puree the Dates:
- Remove all pits from the dates. If you buy pitted dates, just be sure to check that there are no stragglers in there!
- Make sure all of the pits are removed from the dates, or buy pitted dates. (If using pitted dates, I always like to check to make sure they’ve all been pitted before putting them in the food processor because inevitably there is a straggler.)
- Place pitted dates in the bowl of your food processor.Process into a chunky paste.If there are some chunks left, no problem, they will easily incorporate into the bars.
- Remove puréed dates to a mixing bowl.Stir in the toasted, chopped pecans, salt, maple extract, and lemon juice.Mix well. The mixture will be sticky.
Turn Mixture into Prepared Dish
- Turn the mixture into the prepared baking dish and press down with your fingers or a flat spatula so that the entire dish is covered with about ¼-inch of the date mixture.If using your fingers, you may need to coat them with a little oil to keep the mixture from sticking to them.
- Refrigerate until firm.Cut into rectangles or squares and wrap each in parchment paper or plastic wrap until ready to eat.
- These bars store well for a few weeks in the refrigerator.