Growing up these Date Bars (also called Matrimonial Bars) were a regular part of my mom’s baking, however we bought a box mix, prepared them & baked them. We used to serve them with Whipping Cream over the warm bars. They were so delicious. They no longer make this box mix anymore, and so I was forced to find a home-made version. These require a little more effort, but they are so delicious. I cannot stay out of them, with their two layers of buttery oatmeal crust sandwiched with a layer of pureed dates that have the smell of vanilla. They will soon be one of your favorites!
3 cups pitted dates
1 cup water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Oatmeal Crust: 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats …or the Quick oats also will work.
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup cold butter cut into pieces
Place the dates and water in a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the dates are soft and have absorbed most of the water (about 5 – 10 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Let cool to room temperature and then puree in your food processor until smooth. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center of oven. Butter (or use a non stick cooking spray) an 8 x 11 inch or a 9 x 9 inch pan.
Combine the oats, flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon, mix well. Then with a fork or pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Press 2/3 of the mixture into the base of the prepared pan. Spread the dates evenly over the oatmeal crust. Sprinkle the remaining dough evenly over the top of the dates. Bake for about 30 – 40 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or cool, with Whipped Cream or Ice Cream. Enjoy!