So the dates sat in my cupboard until a visit from my mother-in-law, Sue, a few weeks ago. Sue is famous for making me photocopies of random recipes she finds. Parents do the silliest things, don't they?? The latest photocopied recipe I received was for Oatmeal Date Squares. It seemed like fate that I should make them.
Ingredients for 12 bars:
1 1/2 cups chopped pitted dates
3/4 cup water
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 t baking soda
2 T butter, softened to room temperature
2 T brown sugar
1 t vanilla
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
In a saucepan, combine dates, water and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and cook under medium-low heat until mixture is thick and gooey. This took about 5 minutes once the boiling started. Stir often so it doesn't stick.
Beat the butter and brown sugar together in a bowl. Add the oats, flour, baking soda, vanilla and chocolate chips, and stir until combined. Mixture will be a little crumbly, but should hold together. Press most of the mixture into a square baking dish sprayed with cooking spray, setting the rest of the mixture aside to use as a topping. Bake the "crust" for about 8 minutes in a 375 degree oven.
Remove the crust from the oven, then spoon the date mixture over the top. Scatter the reserved oat mixture on top of the date mixture. Bake for another 20 minutes until golden brown.
Remove from oven, let cool, then cut into 12 bars. Try not to eat the entire pan at once!