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
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.