1. Preheat oven to 325° F.
2. Place the cranberries, dates, and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 8-12 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Using the side of a long-handled spoon, press the cranberries and partially break up the dates as they soften, adjusting heat if necessary. Stir until you have a well combined mash. Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla. Set aside to cool.
3. Cut a piece of parchment paper 9-inches wide and press it into a 9 x 9-inch baking dish so the bottom is completely covered and the edges of the parchment overhang two opposite sides of the pan for easy removal.
4. Whisk the dry crust ingredients together, breaking up any lumps. Add the melted plant-based butter and mix to a consistency of crumbs. Set aside 1 cup of the crust mixture and press the rest evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Poke crust all over with a fork. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until just starting to brown.
5. Make the topping by mixing the coconut flakes, pecans, and cinnamon into the reserved crust mixture until evenly distributed and in large crumbs.
6. Once the crust is done baking, increase the oven temperature to 350ᵒ F. Spoon the cranberry-date mixture over the crust, spread evenly, and sprinkle with the topping. Pat the topping down gently and place back in the oven to bake for about 25 minutes more, or until the topping is golden brown. Allow the bars to cool completely on a cooling rack. Cut and serve, storing any leftovers in the refrigerator.
Nutrition per serving
per one serving (for 12 servings)