Applesauce Date Bars

Some time ago, I ordered several pounds of dates from an online provider when the price locally had gone beyond my budget. They were diced with a very light coating of cornstarch to keep the pieces from sticking together, and I have found them to be very good in a wide variety of baked goods–along with our family’s favorite no-bake dateballs.

However, I recently realized that I still have quite a few left. We are entering the season when I avoid turning the oven on because of the heat, so on a day like today when the skies are cloudy and the air is cool, this would be a good day to bake.

Along with the dates, I had part of a jar of homemade, unsweetened applesauce and powdered sugar frosting in the refrigerator, left from last week’s cinnamon rolls. These “leftovers” were just perfect for a quick dessert to take to a barbecue tonight. If you too have dates already pitted and diced, this recipe could take less than ten minutes to prepare.

Oh, and one more variation opportunity: If you manage to completely forget the walnuts until these cookies are baked, do as I did today, just put them on top of the glaze, as shown in this photo.

Applesauce Date Bars

A quick, fruity bar cookie
Course: Dessert
Keyword: applesauce, bar cookies, dates, walnuts


  • 1/2 cup butter softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup diced or chopped pitted dates see step 1 for how to measure
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce see step 1 for how to measure
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts optional


  • Beat together the butter, sugar, and egg until very light and fluffy.
  • Put one cup dates in a two cup measure, pressing lightly to measure. Pour in applesauce to fill to the two cup line, stirring and adding applesauce as the gaps between the dates are filled in.
  • Pour the date and applesauce mixture into the beaten butter mix and stir until well combined.
  • Sift or stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Add to the date/applesauce/butter mixture and stir just until completely combined. Don't overly beat. If using walnuts, stir them in just before putting batter in pan.
  • Spray or oil a 7 X 11 or 9 x 9 inch pan and pour the batter into it. The batter will be thick so carefully smooth it so it is as even as possible.
  • Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 22 to 25 minutes.
  • When well cooled, sprinkle with powdered sugar OR spread a thin layer of powdered sugar glaze over the top.

Note the cupcake next to the pan of cookies. I was testing a new-to-me toaster oven and wanted to see how well it could handle cupcakes. (It did pass the test!) To do so, I just scooped out enough batter to make two cupcakes and still had a nice high bar cookie. In fact, if you like bars a little less cakelike and a little thinner, I would recommend using a 9 X 13 pan, shortening the baking time by 5 to 7 minutes.