Good Eating Monday: Vintage Date & Orange Crumble Bar Recipe

Greetings!  Another week and another rainy day. My veggie garden is a swamp. My back yard is a sponge that squishes under foot when I walk through it.
 I read in the AccuWeather extended forecast a few days of little to no rain are coming!
My squash seeds came up and I think I'll move them to better location in very short order.

Today I have a delicious vintage cookie-bar recipe from 1967 called "Date & Orange Crumbles."
I made it last Tuesday and the Air Force guys at Bible Study gobbled them up.
It's going to be my favorite "recipe of the year" in this year's Christmas letter!
To make it a healthier recipe I used Sugar in the Raw, which is raw cane sugar, substituted 1/2 cup wheat flour in the white flour called for and used lite butter, but you can use the recipe as is.
It calls for fresh oranges, chopped dates and oatmeal!

Date & Orange Crumbles
3/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp grated orange rind
1 3/4 sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 chopped walnuts (optional)

Date Orange Filling:
3 cups chopped dates
1/4 cup sugar
Juice of 2 oranges plus enough water to make 1 1/2 cups liquid.
Directions for filling: Combine mixture in saucepan and heat, stirring constantly until slightly thickened.

Directions: Cream shortening, sugar and orange rind. Combine dry ingredients and walnuts, if used, and add, mixing to crumb consistency. Line pan with foil and spray with an oil spray. (either a 13x9 pan for thinner bars or 9x9 for thicker)  Pat half the cookie mixture evenly over the bottom of pan. Spread with Date Orange Filling; then top with remaining crumbs, patting lightly. Bake in 400 degree oven for 35 minutes for thin bars in 13x9 pan or 35 to 40 minutes for thicker in the 9x9. (Makes 24 brownie-sized bars in 13x9 and about 12 coffee-cake size in a 9x9)

I very often melt my butter in the microwave rather then cream it, but, let me warn you, don't do that with this recipe!
Let the butter or margarine soften in the bowl and cream it the old-fashioned way.
 If you melt, it won't form nice crumbles, but a large moist glob that is so much harder to work with! 
I also missed the part about cooking the filling--don't forget that!
Still, despite my mistakes, the bars came out fine.

I didn't realize how well orange and dates went together.
The crumbles have such a yummy moist, orange flavor. And I did use the walnuts. I definitely recomment the nuts. Pecans or hazelnuts could be substituted, if you have a preference.

I wouldn't mind making the 9x9 size sometime and having it as a coffee cake.

I think this recipe could be turned into a lovely Christmas coffee cake or bar cookie rather easily by replacing 1 cup of the chopped dates in the filling with chopped candied pineapple and candied red cherries. 

(Do not use the mixed candied fruit, because it already has candied orange peel in it and you really don't need more orange flavor. Sometimes candied pineapple & cherries come mixed, sometimes just separately. Candied fruit freezes well if you have leftovers.)

Of course, I love candied fruit, particularly the red and green pineapple! It's soooo moist.
Eat up me hearties, yo-ho!


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