The other day Jim mentioned that a friend of his was coming over and they would be jamming together on their guitars. Could I make a treat for them to munch on? How about something healthy like date bars? Putting aside the question as to whether date bars are “healthy” or not, I confess that the thought crossed my mind to provide a bag of Funyons and be done with it. Life is hurried and time is short, and taking the easy way out when it comes to entertaining is tempting. Still, I love to bake, and a request for date bars was like waving a red flag in front of a bull, and right after the seditious Funyons thought, I began mulling over which recipe to use. I would like to say I used my Grandma’s Date Bar recipe, except that I can clearly recall her using a Betty Crocker mix. I have a library of cookie cookbooks (see photo), and after wading through an ocean of date bar recipes in the books and on the Internet, I found the following at Allrecipes.com, contributed by Helen Cluts. I made the bars and let them sit overnight. The next day, I was tempted to serve in the pan, but something made me cut the bars neatly and then arrange them on a pretty china plate.
Life being what it is, who knows whether Jim’s friend might have actually preferred Funyons, but I don’t think so. (See photo of plate.) As modern people, we seem a little uncomfortable with the small ceremonies that can grace meeting and greeting, but I think offering something homemade gives a special welcome, a culinary “namaste” to the guest. And these crunchy, buttery bars, ribboned with date jam do the honors nicely.
I would like to say that these date bars are good keepers, except that Jim and I fell on them like famished wolves the next day, so who knows?
Oatmeal Date Bars1 cup chopped dates 1/2 cup water 1/4 cup sugar 1-1/2 cups oatmeal 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup butter, melted 1 egg, beaten (original recipe called for 1 egg white) Combine the dates, water, and sugar in a small saucepan. Cook and stir until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture is thickened, about five minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir in the butter and egg until blended. Pat half of the mixture into a greased, 8-inch square baking pan. Spread with date mixture. Gently pat remaining oat mixture over date mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and cut into bars.