Raisin & Date Filling:
1 & a 1/2 cup raisins
1 & a 1/2 cup chopped, pitted dates
3/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon of grated orange zest
Non-stick vegetable cooking spray
1/2 cup soft margarine, chilled
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 & a 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 cup of old-fashioned rolled oats
Prepare the filling: Combine the raisins, dates, orange juice and water in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Continue to boil, stirring for 10 minutes, until the mixture thickens and becomes like a paste. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the orange zest. Let cool completely.
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a nonstick 13x9x2-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Prepare the crust: Mix the margarine with the brown sugar in a medium size bowl until well blended. Beat in the flour, baking soda and oats until the mixture is crumbly.
Press half the oat mixture into the prepared pan. Spread the filling in an even layer over the oats. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the filling and press down lightly.
Bake the bars for 25 minutes, or until the top is golden. Cut into 40 bars while still warm. Cool the bars completely and store them in an airtight container. Yield: 40 Bars.
Makes 40 bars, per bar:
Exchanges: 1 Fruit, 1/2 a Starch and 1/2 a Fat.
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