Date Filled Bars

  Sue is the one who introduced me to the Fannie Farmer Baking Book. I have had their regular cookbook for some time, but not the baking book. After I saw hers I got one for myself. They are out there as used books which brings down the cost some.
  I had some dates left that needed to be used. I do make rolled out date filled cookies, but did not want to go to that much work. Instead I found this recipe for date filled bars. 
   There are many recipes out for date filled bars. This one has more butter in the crust than the one I have made and vanilla and almond flavoring both in the date mixture.
  It is quite simple to make, just cut the dates up with a pair of kitchen shears. Much the easiest way to handle dates. I would not recommend the cut up dates in the packages that are available in the stores. Look for some good whole dates, These  bars depend on the flavor of the dates for the taste and the all-ready-cut-up ones are tasteless.
  They are quite rich so you will want to cut them in small pieces. Dates are low in fat and sodium, high in potassium, and a good source of fiber.
Date Filled Bars
The bars keep well at room temperature and are good chilled or directly from the freezer.
1 cup (about ½ pound) finely chopped dates (use a shears)
¾ cup brown sugar divided
½ cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
½ cup flour
1 cup uncooked oatmeal
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick / ½ cup) butter melted
  Preheat oven to 350°. Use an 8 inch square baking pan.
Combine the dates, ¼ cup brown sugar, and the water in a small saucepan., and cook over moderate heat for about 5 minutes, until thicken. Remove from heat and add the extracts. Let cool.
  Combine the flour, oatmeal, remaining ½ cup brown sugar, the baking soda, and salt. Stir well. Add the butter and mix throughly. Press half of the mixture in the bottom of the pan, and spread with the date mixture. (a small offset spatula works). Then sprinkle with the remaining oatmeal mixture. Press gently into the dates. Bake at 350° for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pan on a rack. Cut into 1 x 2 inch squares.

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