Persimmon Bars

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.

Clockwise from top: Creamy Cashew Frosting, Lemon-Tofu Frosting, no frosting, and Persimmon-Date Frosting (see recipes below).

3 medjool dates, pitted and quartered, soaked in ¼ cup water for 30 minutes
1 cup rolled oats
1¼ cups oat flour (or 1¼ cups rolled oats ground into flour in a high-speed blender)
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground clove
1 medium-large, very ripe hachiya persimmon, peeled and diced (or 1 ripe banana)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
½ cup raisins
½ cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper, or use a silicone baking pan.

2. Combine the dry ingredients—oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove—in a bowl.

3. In a blender, blend the dates (with their soak water), persimmon (or banana), vanilla, and non-dairy milk until smooth. Pour wet mixture into bowel of dry ingredients and mix by hand until fully combined; fold in raisins and nuts.

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

5. Let cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes. Cut into any size you like. I usually cut mine into 15 bars about 1½” by 2½”.

Notes: 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). / 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. / Eat plain or with one of the optional frostings below. / When persimmons are out of season, substitute with 1 sliced, ripe banana.

Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Makes: 15 bars (1½ x 2½ inch)

Optional frostings
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.

Creamy Cashew Frosting

3 Medjool dates, pitted and quartered
½ cup raw, unsalted cashews
½ cup water

Place all ingredients into your blender and let sit for 15 minutes. Blend until mixture is smooth and creamy (add tiny amounts of water as needed). If you would like a lemon flavor, replace ¼ cup water with ¼ cup lemon juice (Meyer lemons, a cross between a true lemon and either a mandarin or common orange, have a great flavor).

Lemon Tofu Frosting

4 dates, pitted and diced, and soaked in water for 30 minutes
4 ounces firm tofu, diced
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Water as needed to thin (you can use the soaking water if you like)

After the dates have soaked, remove them from their water and place them into a high-speed blender along with the tofu and lemon juice. Blend until mixture is smooth and creamy, adding water as needed until the desired consistency is reached.

Persimmon-Date Frosting

2-3 dates, pitted and quartered, and soaked in water for 15 minutes
1 medium-large, very ripe hachiya persimmon, peeled and diced
Water as needed to thin (you can use the soaking water if you like)

After the dates have soaked, remove them from the water and place them into a blender along with the persimmon. Blend until mixture is fairly smooth, adding water as needed until the desired consistency is reached.

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  1. says

    Hi Cathy, Love your site and your recipes. I recently made these bars and loved them. I have two girls ages 4 and 2 (tough food critics) and they loved them as well. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. Rather than using persimmons I used apples. I also substituted figs for raisins, and steel cut oats to make my oat flour. They turned out great! I ended up making the cashew date frosting – I have used this frosting many times for other dishes in the past – and my family ate it up. Again, thanks for being part of the solution and blessings to you!

  2. says

    Hi Gordon! Thanks for the comment, that sounds great! I love figs and apples, they’re great for baking. So glad the family ate it up! 😉

  3. Rachel says

    Hi Cathy,
    I just found your site and really like it! I tried this recipe today and the flavor is good but my bars came out gooey and seem uncooked – I even put them in longer in the oven. What did I do wrong?

    • says

      Hi Rachel, not sure…I’m guessing you used a banana instead of a persimmon (since persimmon’s are not in season yet), and if so, maybe try with a smaller banana or just half of one.

    • says

      Hi Kim, the larger hachiyas work best because they are really soft and squishy, and that’s what we want. Your smaller persimmon (a fuyu) is likely too firm. I’ve seen the larger ones in the store by now, so I’d recommend using that one and using it when it’s really soft. The smaller, harder persimmons are great for eating raw, like an apple.

  4. annie vaughn says

    Hi Cathy!
    I discovered your site recently and am so glad. What a great vegan SOS free resource! I made the persimmon bars with the cashew-lemon frosting yesterday and loved them! They remind me of a holiday fruit cake. Now I have something special to bring to Christmas dinner. (I might try rum extract in the frosting instead of lemon for Christmas.) Thank you so much:)

  5. Linda Dale says

    Hi Cathy. Is there any reason one couldn’t use a plant milk in place of water in the cashew frosting recipe? It seems as though that would make it so much creamier.

  6. Cheryl says

    Hi Cathy, I live in a rural area and we don’t get persimmons around here. What would be the very best substitute in your opinion?
    I am beyond thrilled I found your site a couple weeks ago. You are a life saver!

  7. amy says

    I just made these lovely bars using a mango instead and they turned out beautifully! I also subbed sunflower seeds for the walnuts, and made the lemon tofu frosting, although the bars were yummy without the frosting. Thanks for the great recipe!

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