Posted by: Kath Usitalo | July 23, 2012

Recipe File: Oatmeal Date Bars

Comfort cookies: Oatmeal date bars

My eye is trained to spot the yellow and orange “manager’s specials” stickers at Kroger, but I don’t snap up just any value-priced product. I have to have a use or recipe in mind or it defeats the bargain. When I saw a couple of containers of chopped dates on sale last week I bought one of them to make oatmeal date bars, a favorite in our house when I was growing up.

Mom baked these when she had the ladies over for a demonstration party for Stanley Home Products or Tupperware. It’s not Mom’s recipe, but pretty darn close–the date filling is not too sweet, unlike some versions I’ve tried.

When I made them the other day the family gobbled them up in a flash. Sure wish I’d picked up both of those boxes of sale-priced dates, but even if they’re not on special I’ll be bringing them home again to make these nostalgic treats.

Date Bar Cookies
Food Network

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Butter a 9×13 pan


3 cups coarsely chopped dates
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups water

Crust and Topping

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1-3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) very cold butter, cut into small cubes

In a non-reactive medium saucepan over low heat combine dates, granulated sugar and water. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.

In a large bowl or bowl of an electric mixer place brown sugar, flour, baking soda, salt and oats. Mix on low speed until combined. While mixer is running add butter, 1 piece or 2 at a time. Mix until crumb like, with some lumps of butter no larger than pea size.*

Using your hands, press and flatten half of the crumb mixture into the greased pan. Spread cooled filling over crust. Cover with remaining crumb mixture, patting lightly. Bake until lightly browned, 25 to 35 minutes. Cool slightly and cut into bars while still in the pan. Gently remove cut bars from pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container. Date bars can be refrigerated or frozen.

* By the time I worked in all of that butter I had pulverized the oatmeal. I like having a little bit more of the oatmeal texture in the finished bar, so next time I will save a little of the oatmeal to stir in after the butter has been mixed in with the rest of the dry mixture. 



  1. I love these! I make them also with a raisin filling…I wonder how that would work with dried Michigan cherries?!

    • Never thought about raisins…the dried cherries sound delish!

  2. […] Oatmeal Date Bars […]

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