This recipe for Aunt Minnie’s Date and Oat Bars is based on one that comes from our friend Sue Truax’s Aunt Minnie, who made them throughout the 1950s and 1960s. They were a holiday special in the Schleiger and Story families. Sue remembers Aunt Minnie cutting her Date and Oat Bars and layering them in a large oatmeal cylinder between sheets of wax paper at Thanksgiving and other holidays. These bars are sweet and chewy, and they make a great gift. We added the grated lemon zest and lemon juice to the date filling.
- Cook Time
- Prep Time
- 1 ½ cups water
- 3 cups chopped pitted dates
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 ¾ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ cups rolled oats
- ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Set the oven rack in the middle position. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cover the bottom and sides of a 9 by 13 by 2-inch metal pan with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Coat the foil with vegetable oil spray.
2. To make the filling: Add the water, dates, granulated sugar, salt, lemon zest, and lemon juice to a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring the date mixture to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thickened. Cool the filling before spreading it over the oatmeal crust.
3. To make the bars: Add the flour, salt, and baking soda to a mixing bowl and whisk to com bine. Set aside. Add the rolled oats to another bowl and set aside.
4. Add the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until the ingredients are well mixed. Add the dry ingredients and beat to com bine. Turn off the mixer, remove the bowl, and fold in the rolled oats. Press half of the flour-oat mix ture into the prepared pan. Using an offset spatula, spread with the cooled date filling. Crumble the remaining flour-oat mixture evenly over the filling.
5. Bake the bars for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven, and transfer to a wire rack to cool. When completely cool, lift the pastry with the foil from the pan, place on a cut ting board, and carefully remove the foil. Cut into 2-inch bars with a wide-bladed knife, wiping the blade with a damp paper towel between cuts. Store the bars between sheets of wax paper in a covered tin at room temperature.