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Oaty Date Slice | Recipe

By Jake Surman

Another classic recipe for energy rich, great tasting snacks for out at the crag, on the hill, or back at the tent... Everyone loves flapjacks. They have long been the choice of active people everywhere, embarking on any number of physical outdoor endeavours. The fact they can be tweaked to personal tastes adds to their almost life giving qualities and they are tough little buggers, able to cope admirably with the rigours of being bashed around in a rucksack. But let's be honest, sometimes you just wish there was an alternative, right? Something to break the monotony of the flapjack trip after trip? Well here it is. We’re not going cold turkey with this recipe, there are still oats to give you those slow burning carbs, and there’s still fruit to add a bit of more instant energy. But whilst superficially they bear some resemblance to a flapjack, these date slices produce a somewhat different experience. They outperform even the most decadent of flapjacks in both taste and nutrition, and whilst people commonly perceive honey to be a healthier alternative to golden syrup, it isn’t. They’re wrong. And one only needs to use common sense to realise that bee excrement is unlikely to be superior to something that is basically a vegetable derivative. These puppies have become a staple of big team days out at some of the more remote Lakeland crags, and on top of very favourable reviews, not one person who has indulged has died of exposure or malnourishment. What bigger endorsement could there be?

This recipe makes 8 of what I consider to be pretty manly slices. After considerable research, the recipe has been scientifically calibrated to exactly replenish the nutrients and calorie deficit resulting from the walk to Esk Buttress, Eskdale (Arthur et al, 2012). Therefore if you’re venue of choice is a little less far, you may wish to consider a smaller slice, to prevent carrying unnecessary weight on those precious red point burns. I’m hoping Rock + Run will fund the research needed to determine exactly what size of slice is required for each major Lakeland venue off the back of this article...


To make the date slices you will need:

  • 200g Dried dates – stoned and roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons boiling water
  • 150g Butter
  • 3 tablespoons Golden syrup
  • 200g Wholemeal flour
  • 75g Dark brown sugar
  • 75g Porridge oats
  • Handful of chopped walnuts (or pecans, almonds etc.)

Cooking Instructions

  • Cover the dates with the boiling water and leave to soften and seep
  • Melt the butter and syrup together in a small pan
  • Meanwhile mix the flour, oats and sugar together in a bowl
  • Pour over the butter mix and stir together
  • Spoon half the mix in to the bottom of a 6 - 8 inch greased tin
  • Spoon on the dates, spreading evenly
  • Spoon over the rest of the pastry mix
  • Bake in a preheated oven gas 3 / 150*c for 40 minutes
  • Score in to slices while still hot
  • Allow to cool before trying to remove from the tin!

Tailor to Taste

The recipe is fairly forgiving and like a flapjack can be tinkered with depending on what you have in the cupboard. Handfuls of pumpkin or sunflower seeds are always welcome; a drop of vanilla essence if you have it, perhaps some ground almonds even...