Persimmon Bars

Prep: 30 minutes Cook: 50 minutes

Serves:Makes 15 bars

By Cathy Fisher
These bars are lighter than traditional fruit and nut bars, and make a great traveling or backpacking snack or a dessert cake when a bit of frosting is added. Refined sugar is replaced by dates, which have a brown sugar flavor that complements the persimmon and spices.

Ingredients

  • 3 Medjool dates, pitted and diced, and soaked in 1/4 cup water for 30 minutes
  • 1 cup rolled oats (regular, not quick or instant)
  • 1 1/4 cups oat flour (or 1 1/4 cups rolled oats ground into flour in a high-speed blender)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 medium-large very ripe Hachiya persimmon, peeled and quartered
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper. (If using a non-stick metal pan, just line the bottom; if using a glass dish, line the bottom and sides. Or use a silicone baking pan, which requires no lining.)

Combine the dry ingredients-oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a bowl.

In a high-speed blender, blend the dates (with their soaking water), persimmon, vanilla, and non-dairy milk until very smooth.

Pour wet mixture into bowl of dry ingredients and mix with a fork until fully combined; fold in raisins and nuts.

Scrape batter into your pan, cover with a silicone baking mat, and bake for 30 minutes on the center rack. After 30 minutes, remove the silicone baking mat and continue baking for 15-20 minutes, until the bars are browned on top. (The foil allows the bars to stay moist without over-browning the top).

Let bars cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove them (still uncut) from the pan all at once by gently turning the pan upside down onto a cutting board (use a butter knife to loosen the sides from the pan first if they have not already come away); remove the parchment paper and promptly flip over and leave to cool further. Cut into any size you like. I usually cut mine into 15 bars about 1 1/2" by 2 1/2".

Notes: I like to grind my own oats into flour using my Vitamix or Tribest personal blender, but if you don't have a blender like this, you can use any whole-grain flour. Hachiya persimmons are the larger, acorn-shaped persimmons (as opposed to the Fuyus, which are flatter and tomato-looking, and are most commonly eaten firm like an apple). Finely grate whole nutmeg for the best flavor. These bars are only slightly sweetened, so feel free to add another date or two if you like a sweeter bar. If you are not partial to raisins or walnuts, feel free to leave either out; the bars will still taste great. If you don't have a high-speed blender, you can use a regular blender, but the bars may be more crumbly. Eat plain or with one of the optional frostings below. When persimmons are out of season, substitute with 1 sliced medium banana.

To serve these bars as a dessert cake, add one of the following three simple frostings. (The Persimmon-Date Frosting is lowest in fat, and is more like a fruit spread). Frost the bars close to the time you will be serving them.

Optional Frostings: Creamy Cashew Frosting, Lemon-Tofu Frosting, Persimmon-Date Frosting, recipes in Desserts & Baked Goods.