Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Not My Grandma's Date Nut Bars

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Mmmm. Date nut bars, such an old fashioned treat. Dates are a wonderful fruit that have been grown and harvested for over 5,ooo years. They are essential to the diets of nomads because of their high carbohydrate content (sorry Dr.Atkins) and potassium as well. But they are not the most fashionable food, probably because of the carbs, the 4-letter word of the millennium. My Grandma's date nut bars have been a staple in our family since I was a little girl. It isn't any great secret of a recipe, although for years I was sure it belonged solely to my family. Imagine my surprise when I saw it on the back of a box of Dromedary Dates. Imagine even more of my surprise when my son asked for date nut bars in his first box from home and I couldn't find dates! After 3 grocery stores I figured there had been some terrible date catastrophe. I am happy to report that they simply were out of stock. Apparently they are not high up on the list in the grocer, and when people don't ask for things they phase out. I am happy to report that I complained at all three markets so there will be an abundance of dates here. And even better news is that September is the beginning of date harvest, so fresh dates from California will become more readily available. They can be found now in many produce departments, but I question their country of origin and their age. Remember shopping in season is always the best way, as evidenced by the horrendous apples in my fridge.

So Grandma's date nut bars got a bit of a makeover, and by reducing the sugar, butter and flour, I think maybe they are just a little healthier for you. All I know is, a date nut bar and coffee with milk is the world's greatest breakfast. Did I mention the fiber? Dates are loaded, and with the addition of oatmeal, these babies will keep you satisfied way longer than a brownie for breakfast. Trust me, this is exactly the sort of thing I research.

Not Your Grandma's Date Nut Bars

2 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups old fashioned oats
½ cup brown rice flour
2 Teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups brown sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, chilled

2 boxes, 8oz. ea.chopped dates
¾ cup sugar
2 cups water

Spray a 9X13 pan with Baker's Joy. In a small saucepan simmer the water, dates and sugar until it thickens. Take off heat to cool. Preheat oven to 375°.
Mix dry ingredients in large bowl and cut in butter until it resembles gravel. Pack half of the dry mixture into the bottom of pan. Cover with the date filling and then the reaming dry ingredients.
Bake for about 40 minutes.
Just so you know, the original recipe doubled for a 9x13 would add an additional ½ cup of flour (all white), ½ cup of sugar and ½ stick of butter. Every little bit counts.

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