Saturday, July 24, 2010

[Cookie 084] Oatmeal Bars with Dates and Walnuts


Eighty-four. 84. Feels good. Nice number. Still powering on, though--no stopping! I will finish this project! Eighty-four isn't even half (AH!!!!!), but 87.5 is, so let's just hold off the enormous celebrations and parades until then, okay? Great.


Now on to something more related: Dates. Do you like them? I had my first date (fruit! I'm referring to the fruit) just when making these Oatmeal Bars with Dates and Walnuts, though I have had date-flavored and date-filled sweets before. This was just my first time eating one whole and unfettered. And pitting one.


Does anyone else get totally grossed out by them!? Something about them really really grosses me out. I don't want to get into the specifics for fear of ruining this recipe for you (or even dates entirely), so I'll just let this picture do the talking.


It's just...icky. I'm not a huge fan. And the thing is, if it was just the pitting that bothered me, it wouldn't be so much an issue--but I'm not the biggest fan of how they taste either. I dunno, I suppose they just aren't my cup of tea. That being said, these bars would go great with a cup of tea as part of an afternoon snack! Maybe it will all just work out in the end!


These bars have a few bits of chopped up dates in them, but they work really well in tandem with the walnuts. It's a crunchy-savory and chewy-sweet combination at work. I also really like how Martha has you grind up some oats to make oatflour, which is used in addition to whole wheat flour--very wheaty indeed. These are super hearty, soft, sweet, and tasty bars; they actually seem more like a cake to me, though. Not a bad thing! I liked them. But then again, I could eat only granola for my entire life and be pretty happy.


The only issue I had with these was that my dad didn't like them (he's not so much a fan of the whole-wheaty, grainy, oatsy, hippie stuff. This meant that the entire batch rested on the shoulders of my mom and I, which is just too much to handle! I ate more than my fair share, but after sitting on the counter at room temperature for nearly a week, my mom kindly suggested that they might not eat. I thought they still tasted good! Maybe mold is just a natural flavor pairing with dates! Whatever. I retired the rest of the batch to the trash can. Moral of the story: make these bars for bake sales, parties, and for large gatherings of people. They are hard to eat a lot of in a short amount of time.


Yep, that's it. My foray into the world of dates was a little disturbing, but yielded tasty results! (Haha, remember that Simpson's episode where Marge is watching soap operas on TV and keeps writing down "with Sexy Results!" Ah memories...)


[ Oh, and a little bit of shameless self-promotion: I just started another blog solely for my photos and other little bits of nonsense. It's a Wordpress blog, because I figured WHY KEEP IT SIMPLE AND EASY, when you can make your life slightly more convoluted by using multiple websites for the same purpose?! Oh, well whatever, this is the URL: Drop by and say herro! ]


Oatmeal Bars with Dates and Walnuts
Makes 2 dozen

  • 1 cup finely ground old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts (5 1/2 ounces), toasted and chopped
  • 1 cup dates (5 ounces), pitted and chopped
  • Vegetable-oil cooking spray

  • Directions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together ground oats, flour, 1 cup whole oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and allspice in a large bowl; set aside.
  • Put brown sugar and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in eggs and vanilla, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  • Reduce speed to low. Add oat mixture, and mix until just combined. Mix in walnuts and dates.
  • Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread batter evenly in dish. Scatter remaining 1/2 cup whole oats over top. Bake until golden and a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.Cool completely in pan on a wire rack; cut into bars.

  • ****
    {End Results}
    Baking Difficultly: 3/5
    Ingredient Accessibility: 3/5
    Tastiness: 3.5/5
    Attractiveness: 2/5
    Is it worth it?: Yeah, for an afternoon snack, bake sale, road trip, whatever. They ain't dainty though, so don't say I didn't warn you (?)

    Drink: Irish Breakfast tea or Apple Cider (despite the time I year I chose to make these, I think they are an autumn cookie for sure!)
    Song: I Wanna Be Sedated -- The Ramones (SORRY bad pun, great song)
    Activity: You come home from school, it's October, the leaves are changing, wind is blowing a little, breezy and cool. You've got your lil' JanSport backpack filled with brand new Lisa Frank folders and jelly pens. You throw your stuff on to the floor in your bedroom and run downstairs to tell your mom/dad how your day went, and SURPRISE, kick-ass oatmeal bars waiting for you on a tray, complete with a cup of apple juice and some carrots or celery. You take the snack over to the TV, turn on some late afternoon cartoons and zone out before you have to go do homework. Ah, yes, that would have been great...


    Anne said...

    I agree with you on the dates business, they're too dry and wrinkled. It reminds me too much of an old person's skin. Blech. Have you done something with fig yet? Now that is a fruit that is not only beautiful but delicious!

    Barbara E said...

    Is that a coreopsis in the picture?

    Weight Loss Tips said...

    Oh my God I love the cookie monster on your blog, too funny!!! I feel the same way!

    meemers said...

    I also never really loved dates, they are not my favorite, however I recently discovered if you stuff them with blue cheese, and wrap them in prosciutto then bake them they are pure heaven!!! Try it sometime, well maybe not while your in Africa but when you get back to the US.