crunchies with dates

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crunchies with dates

The crunchie is a legendary South African baked treat and my Grandmother Bettys recipe is the best I’ve ever come across. I published this on my blog so many years ago and it remains one of my most treasured posts. The comment section which gets added to from time to time always makes my heart swell and reminds why I love blogging the most. Being able to connect with people from all over the world through a shared love of food is an incredible thing and the biggest reward out of it.

Oat crunchie bars with dates

I’ve added dates to her recipe which take it into new territory. On one hand you lose the crunchy texture of the golden crisp oaks, but on the other hand you gain the delicious chewiness and flavour of the dates. So it really s a trade-off. I far prefer this new version because I adore dates in baked treats. So although these are still essentially crunchies they really have become chewy date crunchie bars without the crunch. 

Oat crunchie bars with dates

This recipe, as with the classic crunchy recipe is really easy and involved hand mixing on on bowl and melting the butter, sugar and syrup in a small pot. Add the chopped dates to the dry mix and use your fingers to evenly disperse this through the mix. It doesn’t matter too much if they clump a bit. I used dates which I brought back from Israel and which were the best I had ever tasted. Literally better than any human made toffee. Use the best quality your can find. 

Once your butter mix is bubbling, add the bicarb and work very quickly. Mix vigorously as it bubbles up and at least doubles in volume. Quickly pour this frothy molten mass into the dry mix and stir to combine. If you want them thick and even chewier, use a smaller pan, but for thinner and slightly crisper bars, spread the mix in a larger baking tray. 

Bake until golden. Allow to cool in the pan before removing and slicing. I can’t think of a better baked treat to eat with a cup of tea.

Oat crunchie bars with dates

Makes approximately 16

crunchies with dates

Print Recipe


  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 180 gm dates finley chopped
  • 230 g butter
  • 1 T golden syrup
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 t bicarbonate of soda


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. Mix the flour, oats, dates and coconut in a bowl.
  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan, add the syrup and sugar and heat.
  • When the butter is bubbling, add the bicarbonate of soda, stir through
  • and remove from the heat.
  • Pour the butter mixture into the dry ingredients and mix. Using the back of a metal spoon, press the mixture into a greased or lined baking tray (approximately 30cm x 20cm, depending on how thick
  • you like your crunchies). Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to
  • 160°C and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until golden brown, making
  • sure they don’t burn. Allow to cool in the pan before slicing.




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  1. NM Gourrege says:

    Do you have other alternatives to your crunchy recipes like maybe nuts / raisin or chocolate?

  2. Ah ha, good ol’ crunchies 🙂 Totally love crunchies, certainly does bring back beautiful memories. I also, love dates, so I am looking forward to making these with the addition of the dates. 🙂

  3. Lindsay Rose says:

    Fabulous recipe! Loved the addition of dates. As I had no cake flour in the house, I used stone-ground gmo-free brown flour – the only problem is that I have now eaten half the batch!!!! Thank you – love your blog Sam

  4. Skyla Thompson says:

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe ~ my husband is from South Africa (Cape Town) and I made this for him.
    He was so moved to have a taste from his childhood and his homeland, it moved him to tears.
    Thank you for sharing something that made my husband so happy.

  5. IM so pleased to hear Skyla – it really is a very South African thing.

  6. HI – you could add whatever you thought would be nice. Ive made with nits and seeds before. About 1 – 1/2 cups work well

  7. Hi Lindsay – Im so glad you liked the recipe

  8. They sound great, I think the addition of dates is a genius move 🙂

    Katie xoxo

  9. Thanks Katie x

  10. I made a half batch of these today were so easy and so delicious that they are all gone so tomorrow I’ll make the date version since I just bought a kilo of fantastic dates from Israel I’m dying to try. Thank you from Australia!

  11. Awesome Sue – so glad you enjoyed.

  12. Antoinette Clay says:

    Just made these and have dates from Israel ?? as so easy accessible here in England
    As a fellow Cape Tonian this is such a treat for the family as we in lockdown at the moment
    The dates as you said adds another dimension to it xx

  13. I’m So glad you enjoyed them Antoinette x

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