Christmas Cookies: Date Bars

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It’s almost Christmas, people, and I am both way behind and way ahead.

Let me clarify.

Things I am behind on: shopping, shipping, baking, planning, wrapping.

Things I am ahead on: eating.

Okay, that’s only one thing, but I am WAY ahead.

I’m a real overachiever. Don’t be jealous.

I figure I have lots of time after the New Year to work out. Right now, the only thing getting a work out is my favorite pair of stretchy pants. I blame my sister-in-law for all this overeating, or, more specifically, my sister-in-law’s Date Bars. I was introduced to them at Thanksgiving, when my mother “innocently” handed me the recipe and asked me to make a pan.

I am almost ashamed to admit I have eaten two pans of them since. I would be truly ashamed if they weren’t so delicious, but since they are I can only be a little bit sorry.

Go ahead. Put on your stretchy pants and get baking!

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Date Bars
Serves: 18
  • 1½ cups water
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 16 oz. pitted, chopped dates
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into ½" pieces
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9 x 13 pan with butter. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook the water, granulated sugar and dates together until they create a thick sauce, stirring almost constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, salt and baking soda. Use a pastry blender or two forks to thoroughly mix the ingredients until they are crumbly.
  5. Press half the mixture into the bottom of the greased pan, using your fingers to pat it until it forms a solid base.
  6. Spread the cooked date mixture evenly over the base.
  7. Sprinkle the remaining dry mixture evenly over the top.
  8. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Cool before cutting into bars.


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  1. juli margolin says

    Hi, Becky! Hope everyone is doing well in your family!! I love how you said, “Put on your stretchy pants and start baking!” It sounds like good advice to me! I’m not a fan of dates, but these date bars look yummy! We may have to make a batch at my house this week!

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