Date bars and cookies are always part of the holiday season, perhaps because of their Middle Eastern origins. Soft flavorful date bars take about a hour to make, and keep very well. This recipe is an old family one, adapted from an old Betty Crocker recipe. (Note that date bars are very different from Singles’ Bars.)
For the filling
- 1 ½ cups pitted dates, cut up
- 1 ½ cups raisins
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 ½ cups water
Mix the above ingredients in a saucepan and cook with occasional stirring for 10 minutes, until smooth and thickened.
For the cookies
- ½ cup butter (1 stick)
- ¼ cup shortening (Crisco)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 cup quick cooking oats
- ½ cup chopped nuts
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Cream the butter and shortening in a mixer and add the brown sugar. Mix until smooth.
- Stir in the flour, salt, and soda and mix until uniform. Stir in the oats and mix thoroughly.
- Press about half of the crumbly mixture into the bottom of a greased 13 “x 9” baking pan.
- Mix the chopped nuts into the date mixture and spread over the bottom layer.
- Sprinkle the remaining crumbly mixture on top and press down slightly.
- Bake until light brown, about 25-30 minutes.
- While warm, cut diagonally from corner to corner and then in parallel to the first cut about an inch apart. Repeat between the other two corners, making diamond shaped bars.
- Remove when cool. Makes about 2 dozen.