Last weekend, my mom, sister, and I spent the whole day shopping, and we literally shopped ’till we dropped. We were sitting the middle of Yorkdale shopping centre, extremely hungry, with nothing to do but wait. We were too tired to continue shopping, and we couldn’t leave beause we were waiting on seats at the Jamie’s Italian restaurant.
My sister decided to grab a little snack for us since we were dead and out of energy, and she bought us a blueberry bar from Starbucks. As soon as my mom and I tried it, we looked at each other and had the same idea — we could recreate this, but without the palm oil shortening and stabilizers that Starbucks uses.
So yesterday, my mom and I baked these yummy squares and they disappeared almost immediately. The blueberry bars are really similar to date squares, so we also decided to make one with a date filling as well. We also decided to subtitute half of the original amount of flour with almond flour to give it a little more nutritious value (totally optional), and we also tried to use natural sugar, such as orange juice, instead of granulated sugar where possible. We really try our best to be healthy… sometimes. These bars are super quick, easy, and a great snack on the go! Here is the recipe:
Note: the recipe for the base makes 2 9×13 pans. If you wish to make only one bar, cut the base recipe in half.
Healthy Blueberry & Date Bars
For the base + topping:
360g (4 cups) oats
128g (1 cup) flour
96g (1 cup) almond flour
300g (1 1/2 cups) brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
340g (1 1/2 cups) softened butter
For the Blueberry filling:
2 tsbp cornstarch
2 tbsp water for the cornstarch
450g (3 cups) frozen or fresh blueberries
83mL (1/3 cup) 100% orange juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
50g (1/4 cup) sugar — optional, keep in mind frozen blueberries are usually sweeter than fresh
For the Date filling:
500g (3 cups) of dates
125mL (1/2 cup) orange juice
125mL (1/2 c) water
For the base + topping
1. Combine the oats, flour, almond flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt.
2. Add the softened butter in chunks, and cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture becomes crumbly.
3. Set aside about 300g (3 cups) of the crumb base for topping afterwards, 150g (1 1/2 cups) for each pan.
For the blueberry filling:
1. Combine your cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water and set aside.
2. Put your blueberries in a saucepan with the orange juice, cinnamon, and sugar (if using).
3. Bring your blueberries to a gentle boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Add, your cornstarch mixture, and bring to a boil and whisk constantly for about 1-2 minutes, until the mixture has thickened up.
For the date filling:
1. Put the dates in a saucepan with the orange juice and water, and bring to a boil.
2. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until the dates are very tender and fall apart. Blend with an immersion blender or mash with a fork.
Assembling the bars:
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F
2. Take what is left of the base after taking away the topping. Divide into evenly between two for each pan.
3. Take the base and crumble it evenly over the pan, then press it into the bottom of your pan.
4. Spread your filling evenly over the base
5. Crumble the topping evenly over the top of the filling, cover as much of the filling as possible.
6. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the crumble is golden brown.
7. Let it cool completely before cutting up into squares to ensure the filling is set.