Here is a brilliant way to satisfy a sweet tooth in just 20 minutes: Easy no bake dessert bars with dates, honey and nuts!

Bonus, with the switch of one ingredient, these date bars could easily be vegan!

No Bake Dessert Bars cut into squares

Have you ever had ranginak? Ranginak are basically no bake date cakes or bars with walnuts and pistachios. They are found particularly in Persia, parts of the eastern Mediterranean and Morocco. If you are not a medjool date eater, you will become one as soon as you try this simple, yet delectable, dessert I have for you today.

I grew up eating medjool dates  because my dad loved them and  he always made sure we had some for a quick snack or  for a teatime treat. But I became a medjool dates enthusiast only recently, when in an issue of Yoga Journal, I read advice on what to have before your yoga practice. Foods that will give you energy but will still keep you light throughout your practice. Yoga Journal suggested a small shake of almond milk and dates. But since I don't always have time to make a shake, I began to eat two dates every morning about an hour or so before I left for yoga class.

I thought it couldn't hurt. But, could this small snack really give me that much energy through a whole hour of laborious power yoga session in a room that is nearly 95 F degrees warm?! The answer is a resounding YES, because two medjool dates give me 133 calories and 36 grams of total carbohydrate!

Dates and walnuts spread on a table

In the back of my head I knew that traditionally in the Middle East offering someone dates was a sign of hospitality. But it wasn't until recently that I finally made the connection between their nutritional value, as a source of carbohydrates and essential minerals, and the ancient practice of hospitality.

This fascinating Santa Clara University article explains the length to which people of the Middle East will go to express hospitality. And I would have to agree that hospitality is not extended simply to family and friends, but even more towards strangers.  To be a hospitable person is to be one who loves strangers-- to offer of yourself and resources without expectation of reciprocity.

A stranger in this ancient nomadic culture was naturally a traveler in the dessert. So, to help quickly restore their energy, it would make sense to have offered dates.  And even as strangers left your home, they are offered dates and water to help sustain them through their journey ahead. And so, medjool dates and hospitality have long been linked.

No Bake Dessert square ready to be served

This recipe for no bake date dessert bars is one that comes from a tradition of celebration and hospitality. And because it is so simple, you can make it almost daily if you want. It is great with tea or coffee--preferably with friends.

The best way to describe these dessert bars with dates is to compare them to a favorite fudge bar, only these are  far better! The fleshy, sweet pitted medjool dates are stuffed with walnuts then covered with a buttery cookie-like layer, and finally topped with pistachios. These date bars are every bit sweet and delicate; they will melt in  your mouth causing a euphoric reaction. Don't say I have not warned you! 🙂

Dessert Bars w/ Dates, honey and nuts cut into squares

Here is the step-by-step for these easy dessert bars:

Open the medjool dates partway and stuff each date with a walnut half. Close the dates tightly to enclose the walnut halves.

Stuff each date with a walnutEnsure date is wrapped completely around walnut
Assemble the walnut-stuffed dates snugly in a single layer in the bottom of a lightly greased small container like this one.

Dates lined on a cooking sheet
In a small non-stick pan, melt the butter and honey on medium-low heat. Add the coconut extract, then stir in the flour. Keep stirring until the flour turns golden brown, about 5 minutes.

Coconut extract, honey and flour cooked in a pot
Pour the honey and flour mixture evenly on top of the dates filling in any gaps.

Flour and honey mixture is poured onto the dates

Let the mixture set, then top with the chopped pistachios pressing lightly with your hand.

Mixture completely covering the dates in the pan

Crushed nuts are placed on top of honey and flour mixture in a thin layer
Now carefully cut the date cake through into 9 small bars.

Close-up of Bars cut into squares
For best results, cover the bars and refrigerate for one hour, or until ready to serve. Remove from the fridge about 10 minutes before serving.

Dessert bars covered with crushed nuts

 

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Easy No Bake Dessert Bars w/ Dates, honey and nuts! Dates stuffed with walnuts and topped with a honeyed buttery cookie and pistachios! Best part, ready in 20 minutes | The Mediterranean Dish

Easy No Bake Dessert Bars with Dates, Honey and Nuts


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4.2 from 6 reviews

Description

Here is a brilliant way to satisfy a sweet tooth in just 20 minutes: Easy no bake dessert bars with dates, honey and nuts!

Bonus, with the switch of one ingredient, these date bars could easily be vegan!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 26 large soft medjool dates, pitted
  • 26 (or scant 1 cup) walnut halves
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into chunks (for vegan, replace the butter with ¾ oil)
  • 3-4 tablespoon good quality honey
  • 1 ½ tsp coconut extract
  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped pistachios

Instructions

  1. Open the medjool dates partway and stuff each date with a walnut half. Close the dates tightly to enclose the walnut halves.
  2. Assemble the walnut-stuffed dates snugly in a single layer in the bottom of a lightly greased small container like this one.
  3. In a small non-stick pan, melt the butter and honey on medium-low heat. Add the coconut extract, then stir in the flour. Keep stirring until the flour turns golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour the honey and flour mixture evenly on top of the dates filling in any gaps. Let the mixture set, then top with the chopped pistachios pressing lightly with your hand.
  5. Now carefully cut the date cake through into 9 small bars.
  6. For best results, cover the bars and refrigerate for one hour or until ready to serve. Remove from the fridge about 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • As noted in the ingredients, for a vegan version of this recipe, simply exchange the butter for ¾ cup of oil.
  • You may serve the date bars immediately. However, for best results, refrigerate for one hour before serving. Remove from the fridge 10 minutes before serving. Keep any left bars refrigerated.
  • Visit our store to browse our spices, olive oils and bundles!
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean
Recipe loosely adapted from Mediterranean Cookbook.

Disclaimer: As an Amazon affiliate, I receive a small credit when you make a purchase through a link I provide. Please know, I only recommend quality products that are competitively priced. Please purchase only what you need. To browse Amazon for other products not mentioned in this post, please click this link.

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. Amira says:

    Wooow these arw really easy to make!!! We usually break our fasting in Ramadan with dates so this can be a new twist. This will be on my list this Ramadan in Shaa Allah. About the hospitality issue, when I first landed here in the US, they kept warning kids at school from strangers and I was like huh what is wrong with these people!! 🙂

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Thanks so much, Amira! Yes, these date bars would be a great treat during Ramadan. Thanks for stopping in and for sharing your thoughts 🙂

  2. Beard and Bonnet says:

    OMG, these look amazing! Also, they just reminded me that I need to email you back today. I have been out of the office, but will be back this afternoon 🙂

    1. The Mediterranean Dish says:

      Thank you, glad you like them! No problem, we'll catch up when you have time 🙂

  3. Monica Jertson Cateron says:

    these sound amazing. Anything with dates !!!

    1. The Mediterranean Dish says:

      You are so right, Monica, anything with dates!

  4. Sandra Gillan McCollum says:

    Gorgeous.

  5. Homemade & Yummy says:

    Well those sound pretty healthy...and yummy!!

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Thank you! They are relatively healthy and addictive 🙂

  6. Cindy @ Hun... What's for Dinner? says:

    This is such a creative way to use dates. Absolutely delish!

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Thanks a ton, Cindy! I do like these bars a lot.

  7. Patricia Conte says:

    These look amazing and I *just* picked up some dates! Can't wait to try these!

    1. The Mediterranean Dish says:

      Thanks so much Patricia! Glad you'll give these a try. Let me know how you like them.

  8. Patricia @ Grab a Plate says:

    So excited to try this! I *just* picked up some dates yesterday! This looks delicious!

  9. peter @feedyoursoultoo says:

    It is fun sometimes to make a quick dessert. No fuss and healthy too.

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Exactly, Peter! We think alike 🙂

  10. felicia | Dish by Dish says:

    Absolutely gorgeous dear, as all your photos usually are!! Pinning!

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Felicia, thanks so much for stopping in! Appreciate you pinning this recipe; it's a new favorite over here.

  11. Nancy Fox says:

    So yummy Suzy! 🙂

    1. The Mediterranean Dish says:

      Thank you, Nancy! Yes, these bars are quite yummy and easy too!

  12. Vicki L. Kammerer says:

    This type of treat is so satisfying, I don't need to eat huge portions like I might with other desserts that are full of processed sugar and ingredients. Win Win.

  13. Connie Brawner Twyman says:

    Just wrote down the ingredients on my grocery list! Can't wait to try them this weekend. Thanks!

  14. Vicki L. Kammerer says:

    I love the idea!! I like to stuff dates with a pecan or almond, roll the stuffed date in honey, then shredded unsweetened coconut. Keep the dates in the fridge wrapped in wax paper. Divine with a cup of coffee or tea.

    1. Connie Brawner Twyman says:

      Sounds soooooo good!

    2. The Mediterranean Dish says:

      You seem to be a dates enthusiast like me, Vicki! You have some great ideas that I might try soon! Thanks for sharing.

    3. The Mediterranean Dish says:

      Connie, thank you! I tastes even better. Hope you give it a try sometime.

    4. Vicki L. Kammerer says:

      Medjool Dates 🙂

  15. Venece Kades says:

    Thanks Suzy for easy and yummy dessert recipe.

    1. The Mediterranean Dish says:

      Mom, you have to try this one. It is so easy and I know you'll like it. XO

  16. Claire | Sprinkles and Sprouts says:

    These sound delicious! I can't wait to try them.
    I love dates so much, so these will be perfect.

    1. Suzy Karadsheh says:

      Claire, that's wonderful! I feel like more people should discover dates 🙂