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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Date Bars and Sugar Cookie Experiments

I enjoyed getting everyone's opinion the other day, thanks for posting even if you didn't agree!  Sometimes it just feels good to have a place to air your opinions.  Yesterday I thought I heard the mail truck going by way too early and it put the idea in my head to share some treats with our mail lady.  Guess she had a surprise when she put down the flag!

Katrina said "let's" make sugar cookies the other day.  We all know how that turned out, right?  For three days I've been dabbling at experimenting with cookie designs based on what she found on the internet.  I put my foot down at fancy shapes, told her I just wanted to some round ones.

The melted snowman would have turned out a lot better if I had used lemon juice instead of vanilla in the icing.  I didn't use a royal icing because I hate that overly hard coating, but the only alternative I found online contained corn syrup which didn't make me happy either since I had to go buy a whole bottle to use about a tablespoon.  Now I realize I probably could have asked a neighbor I'm sure someone on the block has it in their cupboard.

buttercream icing for the snowflakes...yum!

I will say the cookie tinkering has been a welcome creative distraction, but I wish I'd been making greeting cards instead.  Things have been tough emotionally here at home the past few weeks.  The weather is actually above freezing, but too cold out in the open with the wind so it's not likely I'll stop somewhere for a hike which is the best therapy of all for me.

This year I used real pitted dates and chopped them myself instead of buying the ones already chopped and coated in sugar.  It made a huge difference in flavor and texture in my opinion.

Here's the recipe, it's super easy and a joy to make and eat.


2 cups flour
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter

Mix the above ingredients and rub/crumble the butter into mixture by hand until crumbly.  Press 1/2 of the mixture into a 9x13 baking dish.

2-3 cups chopped dates
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup white sugar (less if using sugar coated dates)
1 1/2 cups water

Cook in small saucepan until thick.  Since I chopped my own dates it looked lumpy so I used my immersion blender to make it nice and smooth.

Spread date filling on top of oat mixture then top with remaining oat mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned, about 20-25 minutes.  Let cool and cut into squares. 

I hope all my followers have a nice holiday and if you overindulge don't forget to balance it out with some exercise! Today I'm making a batch of homemade bread and the work I'm doing with the personal trainer has made a difference because my arms and hands didn't get tired kneading 10 lbs of flour!

 Since the snow is passing to the south of us maybe I'll pretend I'm someplace warmer and go for a walk outside.  If I squint my eyes a little I might be able to fool myself...right?


  1. That date bar recipe sounds and looks like the date bars we had as a kid in Chicago. I'm going to save that recipe. Thanks. I think about the only difference is there was a sprinkling of powdered sugar on the top of ours. I've got a pound and a half of fresh Medjool dates waiting in the fridge. ;)

  2. Pretty cookies! Be glad that you can get out and exercise! I'm going on two months with no activity, and it's driving me crazy. I'd give anything to be able to go hiking right now.....even in the cold rain! And, as you can imagine, I'm super-bummed I can't ski yet.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  3. Have we spent enough evenings together for you to learn that MY middle name is Rose. Seems not, cause I think I'd remember if we talked about it! The cookies look great! And I can just smell that bread.

  4. I love date bars!!! I haven't made them in a million years. I guess I might need to try this recipe...yum!

    Happy Holidays!

  5. Those cookies are way too pretty to eat. I've done some in the past and they just look like a mess. Thanks for the recipe.

  6. Your sugar cookies look yummy ... I can always eat a cookie! Love date bars and make 'em frequently, but I found a recipe that doesn't use so much butter.

    With all the persimmons I found (and picked) this year, I've been making "everything persimmon," inc persimmon date/nut bread. Ohhhh ...!