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These bars are delicious, wholesome and always received with great enthusiasm! A perfect gift for someone who is a bit under the weather or a new mom, or take a tray over to that new neighbour! (Better yet, be selfish and keep them all to yourself!)
- 1 lb whole pitted dates
- 2⁄3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2⁄3 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
CRUST AND TOPPING
- 1 1⁄2 cups rolled oats
- 1 1⁄2 cups flour
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup chilled butter, cut into pieces
- 3⁄4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- For the filling, combine the dates,brown sugar and orange juice in a medium saucepan.
- Cook over medium heat until the brown sugar dissolves.
- Simmer for 3 minutes or until the dates are tender and the syrup is thickened.
- Cool to room temperature.
- Stir in the vanilla and then process the mixture in a food processor until smooth.
- For the crust, mix the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.
- Add the butter and rub in with the fingers until the mixture has the texture of coarse cornmeal and forms moist clumps.
- Press half the crumb mixture into the bottom of a buttered 9 X 13 baking pan.
- Spread the filling over the bottom crust.
- For the topping, mix the walnuts with the remaining crumbs and sprinkle this mixture over the filling.
- Bake at 350*F for 40 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown.
- Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
- Cut into squares and serve with vanilla ice cream if desired.