Old-Fashioned Date Bars

Old-Fashioned Date Bars

1-1/2 cups whole pitted dated
1-1/2 cups orange juice
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1-1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
¾ lb cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts
1-1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats

Place dates and orange juice in medium saucepan. Simmer over moderate heat for 20 to 25 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Stir occasionally to break up dates. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, salt, sugar and butter and mix with fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add coconut, walnuts and oats; stir until blended.

Press half the pastry into bottom of ungreased 9x13-inch pan. Spread date mixture over top. Pour remaining pastry mixture over top of date mixture, spreading it evenly and flattening it slightly.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.

*NOTE: I use blackstrap molasses and cut down on the brown sugar. I adjust the amount to desired sweetness.