My grandmother always often had a package stashed in her tiny white pantry. At the end of the school day when I'd go and visit her, she'd take the rectangular package from its place, and she'd take out two dates, one for each of us, and we would savor just the one and she'd put the package away again. She could make a package last a long time, smiles.
So, here's a simple little bar cookie. And like the dates I used to share with my sainted Grandmother, you can only eat one very sweet little square at a time, preferably with a large cup of tea or coffee.
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups pitted dates, chopped **
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 cup old fashioned oats **
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, diced, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 9x9-inch baking pan with foil, first in one direction, and then crossing over in the opposite direction with a section piece. Butter sides and bottom of tin foil..
Bring 3/4 cup water to simmer in medium saucepan. Add dates; simmer until very soft and thick, stirring occasionally. Cool to room temperature. Stir in vanilla.baking pan
Combine flour, sugar, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in large bowl; stir to blend. Add butter using fingertips or a pastry cutter, and rub in until moist clumps form. Press half of oat mixture evenly over bottom of baking dish. Spread date mixture over. Sprinkle with remaining oat mixture; press gently to adhere.
Bake until golden brown and set in center, about 20 minutes, taking care not to overbake. Cool completely in pan on rack.
Using the edges of the foil, lift out the cookies. Peel down the foil from the edges and cut into bars and serve.
**Buy the whole dates, not the kind that are prechopped and presweetened.
**I used One Minute oatmeal, and it worked just fine.