Raisin Date Bars


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Remember when I mentioned throwing away baked goods in the woods? Well, it was more than oft my attempt at this recipe.

Growing up, dessert was seldom. We would get mom's canned peaches after dinner, one fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt on fridays, pies on special occasion and these raisin bars. Many would qualify these as a breakfast/brunch food, but for us this was dessert. Heck, I chose it for my birthday cake one year.

I've changed the recipe a little bit, but it's based on a recipe from More-With-Less. My mennonite mother cooked almost religiously out of this cookbook. It's such a necessary addition to your collection. The wonderful thing about More-With-Less is that it's all about bringing out the natural flavor of the veggie/fruit highlighted in the dish. So this translates to simple seasonings--salt and pepper and reduced sugar--producing rich, yet simple flavors.

Fresh is always best.

Raisin Date Bars
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 cup chopped dates (can also sub with raisins)
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch

3/4 cup butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 400.

In a saucepan, cook the top set of ingredients (raisins to cornstarch) over low heat until thick. Stir occasionally to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pan. When thick, allow to cool.

In a medium size bowl, mix together the salt, baking soda and flour. In a larger bowl, mix the brown sugar and butter until combined. It's okay if it's not totally smooth. Add in the flour mixture and once combined stir in the rolled oats.

Mix well until it is crumbly and then take half of the mixture and press into a greased 9x13 pan. Spread the raisin/date mixture over top of the bottom crust. Cover with the remaining oat mixture and pat down lightly. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cut into the bars while they're still warm.

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