A Great Maple-Sweetened Date Bar Recipe

Rachael and I made these bars today.  Instead of orange juice and zest, we used lemon.  It was equally delicious.

These are very tasty indeed.

Give them a try and let me know what you think.

I’ll check back in with you again tomorrow.

Oatmeal Date Bars

12 ounces moist pitted dried dates, preferably Medjool, cut into

small pieces (do not use packaged chopped dates; they are of

inferior quality)

1/3 cup sugar (or substitute the same amount of pure maple syrup)

Finely grated zest of 1 orange

Freshly squeezed juice of 1 orange + enough water to come to 3/4 cup

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (spooned into the cup and

leveled, 4 1/2 ounces)

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup sugar (I used maple sugar but white sugar is fine)

1 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats (not instant)

1.Combine the cut up dates, 1/3 cup sugar, orange zest and orange juice water in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to the boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the dates are thick like a jam, 10 to 12 minutes. The dates must be very thick. Watch carefully, and stir constantly towards the end of cooking to prevent scorching. Cool completely.

2.Adjust an oven rack to the center and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together thoroughly the flour, baking soda, and salt.

3.Beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until it is smooth, about 1 minute. While beating, gradually add the 2/3 cup sugar and beat for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon until crumbly. Stir in the oatmeal. Press 2 cups of the crumbs (loosely measured) firmly and evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan to make a smooth compact layer. Spread the cooled date mixture on the crust and sprinkle the remaining oatmeal crumbs on top. Pat in place gently to make a smooth even layer but don’t pack it down.

4.Bake about 25 minutes, or until an even golden brown. The topping may puff and crack a bit. Not to worry. It settles during cooling. Cool the pan completely on a wire rack. Using a small, sharp knife, loosen the “cake” from the sides of the pan, then cut into bars or squares. Store airtight. These stay fresh for several days.

Makes 16 servings.


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