Wednesday, July 18, 2018

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 were essential to the diets of nomads because of their high carbohydrate content and potassium as well. But they are not the most fashionable food, probably because of the carbs, the 4-letter word of every hot diet. 

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.  September is the beginning of date harvest, so fresh dates from California will become more readily available, and these are even better with fresh dates! But for years, the box of dates sealed in plastic was all we ever used.  Grandma would never lead me astray.  And my Grandma would have a square with a cup of coffee at 3 o'clock. A tradition I still love.  But I on earth did my Grandma ever fall asleep with a cup of coffee, from a percolator every afternoon?  Vexing. 

I once gave Grandma's date nut bars a bit of a makeover by reducing the sugar, butter and flour, I think maybe they are just a little healthier for you. But honestly, adding the rice flour wasn't really any great improvement.  I'm a bit over all this crazy substitution stuff.  So here's the way I make them.  It makes a big pan, because you just can't stop eating them.  Its not exactly a doubled version of the original, but it really works.   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.

Grandma's Date Nut Bars
2 boxes, 8 oz ea. chopped, diced dates
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups water

2 1/2 cups flour
3 cups oatmeal
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t salt
2 sticks butter (salted is best)

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 using a pastry blender 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.
They are delicious warm, chilled, for breakfast or even dessert (vanilla ice cream is pretty okay with them).  They are loaded with sugar in all forms, but also filled with love and nostalgia.  Aunt Florence who lived well into her 90's would tell you how much healthier this is than that terrible stuff you buy at the coffee shop loaded with colors and preservatives.  So, what are you waiting for?  Get in there and bake!!!