Sweet Potato Date Bars

October 27, 2011

I’m always up for a challenge in the kitchen. This time it was sugar, or rather the challenge of not using it.

Sweet potatoes and dates, that’s what I had to work with. I’m not quite sure why those were the two ingredients I wanted to use, but I had them on hand so I went with it. Knowing dates are perfect for sweetening up desserts, I wanted to use as little sugar as possible.

It turns out I didn’t need to use any.

Now this doesn’t mean they are sweetener free. I did add a little bit of pure maple syrup, which by make-up is a form of sugar. Kentucky Maple Syrup actually which I never knew existed until this year. Turns out it’s excellent.

I decided to go sans butter as well and the coconut oil was perfect. I used it at a softened, cold butter like consistency for the crust and melted for the filling. You can make your own oat flour by simply pulsing old fashioned rolled oats in a food processor a few times.

Like a sweet potato pie, these bars have a soft, spiced filling and a crisp crust. The potatoes, dates, maple syrup and coconut oil (not to mention a wee bit of bourbon) come together to provide just the right amount of sweetness. I promise you won’t miss the sugar at all.

Sweet Potato Date Bars


¼ cup oat flour
¾ cup white whole wheat flour
1/3 cup virgin coconut oil, at a soft butter-like consistency
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tbsp water


1 cup cooked sweet potato, peeled and mashed
4 whole, pitted dates, chopped
1 tbsp bourbon
6 tbsp milk
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
¼ cup virgin coconut oil, melted
1 egg
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with coconut oil.

In a small bowl, combine the oat flour and wheat flour. Add the coconut oil and with a pastry blender break it up into small pieces as you incorporate it into the dough. You should end up with pea size coconut oil pieces throughout the flour.

Add the syrup and the water. The dough should be somewhat crumbly, but hold together when pressed. Transfer to the baking dish and press evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

In a small food processor add the sweet potato, dates, bourbon and 2 tablespoons of milk. Pulse until smooth and the dates are blended in and almost visibly unnoticeable. Add a little more milk if it is too thick to blend.

Transfer sweet potato mixture to a medium size bowl. Stir in the remaining milk and maple syrup. Add the melted coconut oil and stir well. Make sure the batter isn’t too warm if you used warm coconut oil. Allow to cool before adding the egg if it is. Add the egg and mix until combined. Finally stir in the baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt.

Pour the mixture over the crust, spread evenly. Return to the oven and bake 25 – 30 minutes, until the center is firm and an inserted knife comes out clean. Makes 9-12 bars depending on how large you’d like to cut them.

You Might Also Like

  • TasteHongKong October 27, 2011 at 4:52 am

    I trust I’ll both enjoy eating (& making)this. Dates are often members of my many soups, desserts and even cakes.

  • Danielle October 27, 2011 at 6:16 am

    I have some dates in my pantry right now that would be perfect for this! I also have a butternut squash that I could sub in for the sweet potato. Looks like I’ve found my next dessert (: Thanks!

  • Maria October 27, 2011 at 6:16 am

    Great bar treat!

  • Elizabeth October 27, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Looks good. Think I can make this vegan? My daughter is and also has a sweet tooth. I bet she would like these. Could sub her almond milk for the milk …just would need to sub the egg too. I have to get some bourbon, I guess. This is 2nd recipe in week that asks for bourbon. Any recommendations? Then I could also make the bourbon pecan pie recipe I have.

  • Lori October 27, 2011 at 9:02 am

    Taste Hong Kong – I need to start using dates more. They are so great to sweeten recipes.

    Danielle – Oh, I bet the BN squash would be great!

    Maria – Thanks!

    Elizabeth – Well, my first recommendation would be to buy some bourbon. 🙂 Dark rum could be a substitution, although for that pie I’d go bourbon only. Just my preference. If you don’t drink you can use 1 tsp of vanilla. I actually had a vegan version in mind when making these. The almond milk would be great. Sometimes recipes will turn out fine by just leaving out the egg. The potato binds a lot in this recipe so you may not need it. You can add 3 T of water for a thinner consistency like the egg would provide. You’d just have to give it a try to see what works.

  • emily (a nutritionist eats) October 27, 2011 at 9:18 am

    These sound great Lori! I am not a fan of dates, but I could definitely handle them if they are baked into something!

  • 5 Star Foodie October 28, 2011 at 12:57 am

    These bars sound excellent, what a neat combination of sweet potatoes and dates, love that they are naturally sweet.

  • Viv October 28, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    these bars look soooo good and healthy – my kinda treats! no butter, no AP flour but just full of wholesome goodness 🙂 have a lovely weekend lori 😀

  • Joanne October 29, 2011 at 6:47 am

    I was SO excited when I saw your tweet about these! They sound truly awesome. Definitely going to be made. ASAP.

  • Vanessa October 29, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Very creative! I am going to have to try this. =)

  • Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) November 1, 2011 at 2:04 am

    I trust this must be very yummy!

  • CS November 17, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    One year late – but I LOVE the looks of this recipe! Saw it on Tastespotting today. And I really like to look of your site too and the name. Stands out more then most. So, I’m off for some bourbon.

  • Lori November 19, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    CS – Thanks so much from stopping by from the Tastespotting photo! Happy bourbon shopping! 🙂