by Renee Chernin, The Kosher Channel website
The arid climate and mineral rich soil make the Jordan River Valley one of the best places in the world to grow dates. Medjool dates have been cultivated for hundreds of years and are the sweetest variety.
3 cups dried dates, chopped
1 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh orange peel, grated or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon margarine
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
3/4 cup walnuts, almonds or pecans, optional
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
8 ounces margarine, chilled and cut into tablespoons
Combine dates, water, orange juice and orange peel in a saucepan, bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 15 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat, add vanilla and margarine and stir until margarine is melted. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with shortening or baking spray. Place crust ingredients in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Do not over mix
Firmly press 2/3 of crust mixture in the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes.
Spread date mixture over crust. Sprinkle remaining oatmeal mixture over the top. Bake 20-30 minutes until crumble topping begins to turn golden. Remove from oven and cool before cutting into squares.
Yield: two dozen
Can make ahead; Can freeze.