Grandma Olson used to make these a hundred years or so ago. I loved them as a little girl. I didn’t know that dates were an acquired taste. I just thought if Grandma made them, they must be good. And I was right. Well, a caveat. That didn’t hold true for lutefisk however. Some things just never improve no matter who made them.
These are a very soft bar cookie. The filling is cooked before baking, but remains tender. I don’t find them very sweet, but I wouldn’t add any extra sugar or sweetener of any kind. Dates are amazingly sweet if you allow them to filter through your taste buds. I usually add a bit more salt than called for, which adds to the illusion of sweetness. I like these a lot and hope you will enjoy them as well.
Heat oven to 400 degrees
Mix together thoroughly:
3/4 cup soft shortening (part butter)
1 cup brown sugar
Sift together and stir in:
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
Stir in: 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
Mix thoroughly. Place one-half of this crumb mixture in a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Press and flatten with hands to cover bottom of pan. Spread with cooled filling (see below). Cover with remaining crumb mixture, patting lightly. Bake until lightly browned, approximately 25 to 30 minutes. While warm, cut into bars and remove from pan.
Mix together in saucepan:
3 cups cut-up dates
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened (about 10 minutes). Cool.
and remember this conversation between Mrs. Darling and Michael, in Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie:
“There are many different kinds of bravery. There’s the bravery of thinking of others before ones self. Now, your father has never brandished a sword nor fired a pistol, thank heavens. But he has made many sacrifices for his family, and put away many dreams.”
“Where did he put them?”
“He put them in a drawer. And sometimes, late at night, we take them out and admire them. But it gets harder and harder to close the drawer… He does. And that is why he is brave.”
I was 11 when I first read this book up at Aunty Kay’s cabin at Warm Beach. It had an amazing impact on me then and I treasure the memories to this day. I don’t know if I still feel the same way about everything. Time to read it again. Big kiss, Lynn