Monday, October 21, 2013

Oatmeal Date Bars

Occasionally, I get stuck in thinking of what to bake and I either ask my husband or my friends at work what I should bake. I asked my husband what cookies I should bake and he said something with dates. I had some chopped dates on hand (that I had planned to use for another recipe) so I figured I could probably find something. I would like to make something like a filled sugar cookie, with a cooked date filling, but that takes more time that I usually have. I searched around and found this recipe. They seemed like perfect comfort food.

These bars started out as cookies, but I second guessed myself. Because the dates have so much sugar, the dough is quite sticky. I baked the first batch as drop cookies and they just didn’t bake up right. They didn’t seem cooked through, but on the other hand they were too crisp around the edges. I fiddled around with the oven temperature and that seemed to make it worse. By then, I used the dough to make 2 dozen not so great cookies. I decided to make bar cookies instead. That worked out!

I actually made my cookies in a 9 inch square pan, but I’d already used some of the dough. To make bar cookies with the entire batch, I would use a 9 x 13 inch pan, which is what the instructions call for. Your bars might be a different thickness, but it would be very close to what you see here. Cooking time is a bit hard to judge; the dates lend stickiness to the dough so they seem soft and under baked. Just watch them while they are baking and when tested with a toothpick it will come out clean. I didn’t have the best of luck baking these, but the flavors are fantastic, and my husband and I have enjoyed eating the “messed up” cookies.

Oatmeal Date Bars
1-1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
3 cups old fashioned oats
1-1/2 cups chopped dates

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch square pan with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a large mixer bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Stir in the molasses and vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Again with the mixer running on low, stir in the oats one cup at a time. Stir in the dates by hand. Press the mixture into the prepared pan.

Bake for about 25-35 minutes, until browned around the edges and set in the center. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Allow to cool before cutting into squares.

Recipe from Kleinworth and Co.

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