I grew up in a family with eight children, and I started baking for our big family at age 10. Today, decades later, I still enjoy baking pies, cakes, strudels and bars. These date treats are very easy to bake, and one sheet of them will yield 48 good-sized bars. I sometimes add nuts, coconut or candied fruit. This dessert is great to take to a church bazaar or any group function. In the 1940s, I managed a Pittsburgh school cafeteria that fed 420 students ever day, so I can recall a thing or two about how to feed a crowd! —Dorothy DeLeske, Scottsdale, Arizona
- 2-1/2 cups pitted dates, cut up
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1-1/2 cups water
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, optional
- 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1-1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon water
- In a saucepan, combine dates, sugar and water. Cook, stirring frequently, until very thick. Stir in walnuts, if desired; cool.
- Sift the flour, salt and baking soda together in a large bowl; add oats and brown sugar. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle water over mixture; stir lightly. Pat half into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Spread with date mixture; cover with remaining oat mixture and pat lightly.
- Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Yield: 40 bars.
Originally published as Best Date Bars in Reminisce March/April 1992, p37
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