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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Classic Date Nut Bars

The Altitude Adjustment Section
Classic date nut bars, practically health food... but not. Dried fruit and nuts, though extremely nutritious, are very high in calories so Weight Watchers beware. Eat some veggies instead, but if weight is not your issue and yummyness is, try these, they are incredible!

Ingredients for crust
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, ground in food processor for 30 seconds
1 1/3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup A.P. flour

Ingredients for filling
1 pound (3 cups) chopped dates
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt

ingredients for topping
3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, ground in food processor for 30 seconds
3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter

Procedure
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch pan. Set aside.

For crust: Cream the butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla in bowl of electric mixer till smooth. Add ground oats, regular oats, and flour. Mix till smooth — it will be very thick. Press into the bottom of prepared pan. Wet your fingertips to stop it from sticking. Prick bottom with fork. Bake for 30 minutes. Take out of oven and let cool. Make filling and topping. Reset oven to 350.

For filling: Combine dates, sugar, and water in a saucepan. Set pan over medium heat and simmer till liquid is syrupy and nearly evaporated — about 3 minutes. Keep stirring. Remove from heat and stir in butter, lemon juice, and salt. Allow to cool 10 minutes. Dollop the filling onto delicate crust. Be careful. It will spread when baking.

For crumble topping: Whisk the ground oats, the regular oats, sugar, nuts, and baking powder in a small bowl. Work in the butter with your fingertips till it's crumbly. Don’t overwork. Sprinkle topping over date mixture and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or till top begins to brown and becomes bubbly. Let cool till lukewarm, then cut into bars.