Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Lightly grease and line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two facing sides of the pan for easy unmoulding.
In a large bowl, add flour, oats, the Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk to combine thoroughly.
Add in the melted butter and lightly beaten egg. With a handheld mixer (or with a spatula/wooden spoon), mix on low speed until it forms a moist but crumbly dough. The dough should look like wet, clumpy sand.
Place ⅔ of the dough (about 420 grams) into the bottom of the prepared pan. Press firmly to create the base of the bars.
In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the chopped dates, unsweetened apple cider/juice, butter, the Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar, cardamom, and salt. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Stir in vanilla extract and baking soda. Reduce heat to medium-low, simmer, and stir until the dates have fallen apart and mixture is quite thick; 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, toss the cubed apples with lemon juice to coat them.
In a small bowl, whisk together the Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt until well combined.
Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the apples. Toss to coat the apples with the mixture evenly.
Evenly spread the date filling over the base using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.
Sprinkle the apples over the date filling. Gently pat down to form an even layer. Squeeze the remaining dough into clumps, breaking any larger clumps apart, and scatter the clumps evenly over the apples to create the crumble topping. Place into the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Rotate pan and reduce heat to 350°F (177°C). Bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is a deep golden brown colour. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Using the parchment paper overhang, lift the cooled bars from the pan to a cutting board. With a sharp serrated knife or chef’s knife, cut into 15 bars.
Store leftovers layered between parchment in an airtight container for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to a week.
*Ensure all ingredients are at room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.
*With a mortar and pestle, crush cardamom pods. Remove and discard the green husks. Finely crush the cardamom seeds. Alternatively, place cardamom pods on a cutting board and crush with the bottom of a heavy pot or skillet. Remove and discard the green husks. Finely crush the cardamom seeds by grinding the seeds with the bottom of the pot.
*When cutting the apples, ensure they are all about the same size to encourage even cooking.
*Water, orange juice, coffee, or a combination of a non-alcoholic liquid and a liquor (e.g. brandy, rum, whisky) can be used in place of the unsweetened apple cider or apple juice.
*Redpath® Golden Yellow Sugar can be substituted for the Redpath® Dark Brown Sugar. The resulting bars may be slightly lighter in colour and have a more subtle caramel undertone.
*Serve warm as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.