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Cook it light: Oat flour improves nutrition of date bars

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Dear Jeanne: I have been eating these cookies since I was a kid, but I'd like to improve them nutritionally. Can you help? —Janet T., Provo, Utah

Dear Janet: I replaced the white flour with oat flour and whole-wheat flour, took out some of the sugar and replaced the shortening with a smaller amount of butter. To make 1 cup of oat flour, blend 1 1/4 cups oatmeal in a blender or food processor until finely ground.


2 cups dates

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups oatmeal

2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 cup shortening

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Cut up the dates and cook with the water and sugar until thick. Mix together the oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, shortening, salt, baking soda and cinnamon until crumbly. Put half of the crumbs on the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch pan and spread the dates on top. Add the rest of the crumbs to the top. Bake at 375 F for 25 to 30 minutes.

Makes 24.


2 cups dates, cut up

1 cup water

1 1/2 cups oatmeal

1 cup oat flour

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup water

1. In a small saucepan, combine the dates and 1 cup water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until dates and water combine to become a thick jam (about 5 minutes). Set aside to cool.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Spray a 9-by-13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine the oatmeal, flours, brown sugar, baking soda and cinnamon, and mix well. Using clean fingertips, mix in the butter to coat the flour-and-oatmeal mixture. Add the 1/4 cup water, a bit at a time, until the mixture is no longer dry and barely holds together when pressed in your hand, but is still crumbly.

4. Place 3 cups of the crumbs in the bottom of the prepared pan and press to firm. Spread the date mixture over the top, and top with the rest of the crumbs. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.

Makes 24 servings.

Each serving contains approximately: Original Recipe: 236 calories; 9 gm fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 148 mg sodium; 38 gm carbohydrates; 2 gm protein; 2 gm fiber. Revised Recipe: 135 calories; 3 gm fat; 7 mg cholesterol; 82 mg sodium; 25 gm carbohydrates; 2 gm protein; 3 gm fiber.

Jeanne Jones is the author of 33 cookbooks, most recently "Cooking From the Cupboard" (Rodale Press). For more information, you can go to her Web site, jeanne jones.com.

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Cook It Light

Deseret Morning News

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