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Oatmeal Date Bars Recipe

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I've been making these bars for almost 50 years. I remember my dad saying they were the best he ever tasted. Use your food processor to easily grind the oats.
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + cooling Bake: 15 min. + cooling
MAKES:36 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + cooling Bake: 15 min. + cooling
MAKES: 36 servings


  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3 cups chopped dates (about 1 pound)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice, optional
  • GLAZE:
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons milk

Nutritional Facts

1 serving (1 each) equals 174 calories, 5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), trace cholesterol, 81 mg sodium, 33 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein.


  1. Place oats in a food processor, cover and process until finely ground; set aside. In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Combine the oats, flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.
  2. Divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll half of dough to fit a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan; set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, combine the dates, sugar, water and lemon juice if desired; bring to a boil. Cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Spread over crust. Roll remaining dough to fit pan; place over filling and seal edges. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Combine glaze ingredients; spread over bars while warm. Cool on a wire rack before cutting. Yield: 3 dozen.
Originally published as Oatmeal Date Bars in Best of Country Cookies 1999, p89

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Reviewed Jan. 18, 2013

"Shortening?!? Trans fats galore! Substitute real butter or cultured butter for a healthier option!"

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