Oatmeal Date Bars

My dad’s mother was Scottish. My mom’s side is Irish. Therefore, I love oatmeal.  Oatmeal for breakfast, oatmeal in breads, cookies, crisps,  with sweet potatoes, etc…, etc…  – I’ll make it and I’ll eat it.  In fact, my daughter and I are guilty of just standing in the kitchen eating oatmeal directly out of the container. Any recipe that calls for oatmeal is just an excuse to eat the oatmeal raw as far as I’m concerned….  So pair the delicious oat-i-ness of oatmeal with butter, brown sugar, some walnuts, flour, and you’ve got something to die for.   Add in “nature’s candy” – dates – one of the most naturally sweet, fattening fruits around (although high in fiber – whoopee!), and dump in even more brown sugar, and I would never have to eat another thing in my life.  This is a recipe that I psuedo-convince myself is healthy.  Oats = Whole grains.  Dates = Fiber.  Walnuts = Healthy Fats.  It’s really just the butter, flour, and sugar that causes the downfall…  But, oh well.  For this, I just don’t care!

Crunchy Gooey Goodness
Crunchy Gooey Goodness

It’s one of those recipes that my family will always remember me for.  I’ve made cookbooks of favorite family recipes (more on that another time) for each of my kids, and this was a top request.  When we go camping, I have to make this.  When it’s cold, nasty weather outside, and we crave the ultimate comfort food, I make this.  It’s sweet.  It’s chewy and crunchy at the same time.  It’s fabulous – enjoy!

8 oz. pitted, chopped dates

1/2 C brown sugar

3/4 C water

Bring ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally until thickened. Set aside.

1 1/4 C flour

1 1/4 C old-fashioned oats

1 C brown sugar

1 t baking soda

1 t salt

1/2 C margarine or butter

1/2 C chopped walnuts (optional)

Mix dry ingredients.  Cut in butter until it’s a crumb-like mixture. Add nuts, if desired.  Press 1/2 of oatmeal mixture in greased 8 x 8 x 2″ pan.  Spread evenly with date mixture, and lightly crumble remaining oatmeal mix on top.  Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, usually approximately 30 – 35 minutes.  These go fast, so I usually double the recipe!


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