Oh my goodness, friends.
Is anyone else as obsessed with salty + sweet desserts as I am?
The only challenge in our house is that Nick isn’t a huge fan of chocolate + peanut butter desserts, so we’re finding other ways to add a little saltiness to some of our homemade treats.
I also wanted to try making something with a little less sugar than a typical cookie bar and used dried dates (yum!) as the base for a maple caramel that is slathered on top of these oat-filled cookie bars before they’re baked.
Bonus! These cookie bars are completely gluten free, thanks to a mix of GF oats, almond meal, and GF flour from Bob’s Red Mill – three of my favorite ingredients to bake with. These taste like the best oatmeal cookie bars you could make, with chopped pecans and dark chocolate chunks mixed in, just for good measure.
I love how easy these are to mix together – it just takes one bowl! – so it’s easy clean up and perfect for a weeknight treat.
The maple date caramel is just the right amount of sweetness on top of the cookie bars, but if you want a little more, it’s also a fantastic idea to pour a little extra over your bar just before eating.
I wouldn’t judge you one bit. Not one bit.
Oatmeal Turtle Bars with Maple Date Caramel
- 1/2 cup pitted dates
- 2 Tbsp water
- 1/2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Oats
- 1 cup Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten Free Flour
- 3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Almond Meal
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup chocolate chunks
- For the date caramel, put all the ingredients in a blender and let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes to soften the dates. Blend everything together, stopping to scrape the sides down if needed, until the mixture is smooth.
- While the dates are softening, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Beat the butter and sugars together for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time.
- Add the remaining ingredients and mix on low until completely combined.
- Scoop the oatmeal bar mixture into a greased 8x8 pan and smooth into an even layer.
- Spoon the date caramel on top of the bars and swirl into the dough.
- Bake the bars for 33-38 minutes, until golden around the edges and a toothpick comes out clean.
I’m so excited to be working with Bob’s Red Mill again this year! They are our go-to for whole grains, cereals, and baking ingredients. This post was sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill and I was provided with their gluten free oats; as always, recipes + opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that support us!