Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Date Crumble Bars

Unfortunately, I fed my dinner guests a bit too well the other night, and when we had finished baking four pizzas on my new pizza stone (which produces wonderfully crusty crust!), folks were too full to consume more than a few bites of these rich bars. Which meant that I ended up eating most of them myself...and enjoying every bit of them.

I had purchased some dates for an appetizer a while back, but they turned out to be too dry to be good on their own, so I stored them in the fridge in some brandy and vanilla extract for a while. Not only did this rehydrate them and impart flavor that made them a tasty snack, but it also made them a flavorful component for baked goods. I baked them into granola, bread, and these bars, and find myself wishing there were some left to eat. You can, however, use any dates for this recipe, since it calls for making them into a sugary syrup before baking them, so don't bother to obtain the most expensive dates out there (save those for eating!).

Many thanks to my great-uncle's wife for this recipe! It is buttery, chewy, and crumbly all at once, and oh so sweet. I imagine you could sub out the date syrup with any kind of jam; really this recipe is just a good base for crumble bars, and easy to make out of ingredients you would normally find in your kitchen.

Date Crumble Bars

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Date syrup:
2 C dates, cut up
1/2 C brown sugar
1 C water
1 tsp flour

Cook until thick. Set aside to cool and add 1 tsp vanilla.

Blend the dough with a pie crust blender or fork:
1C flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 C oatmeal (one minute)
1 C brown sugar
3/4 C melted butter

Press a little more than half of the dough mixture into the bottom of a 9" x 13" pan. Pour the date syrup over the layer of dough. Sprinkle the rest of the crust mixture on top. Bake 20 minutes.

Note: Half recipe fits 8" round pan

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