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Deluxe Date Squares
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Categories: Contest Winners, Cookies and Brownies, Dessert
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Total Time: 1 hrs. 50 min.
Baking Time: 40 min.
Freezing Time: 20 min.
Preparation Time: 30 min.
Cooling Time: 20 min.

These dense, chewy cookies go great with a glass of cold milk. The recipe was taken from the LA Times' "Best of 1999".

2 1/2 cups dates - pitted
1 2/3 cups light brown sugar - packed
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon orange oil - optional
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup butter - cold

Combine dates, 2/3 cup brown sugar, water, vanilla, lemon juice and orange oil in 2-quart saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Cook until dates are softened, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove from stove and cool. Purée in food processor until smooth.

Place flour, oatmeal, 1 cup brown sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in work bowl of food processor. Pulse to combine, then add chunks of cold butter until mixture is crumbly.

Pat 1/2 mixture into lightly greased 9-inch-square baking pan. Cover with date mixture, spreading evenly. Top with remaining crumb mixture as evenly as possible. Press down lightly.

Place pan on baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until top is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool 20 minutes then put in freezer 20 minutes before cutting into squares.

Calories: 327 Calories From Fat: 32%
Protein: 3g Carbohydrate: 55g
Cholesterol: 31mg Sodium: 275mg

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