I found the recipe for these bars in the last months issue of the Bon Appetit magazine and immediately marked it as a must-try. They were originally called Oatmeal, Fig and Walnut bars. I reduced the amount of figs and sugar by a little bit and added some dates. The only gotcha I found in this recipe was the bake time mentioned was 35 mins after which it said the bars would be browned on top and firm to touch. Mine didn't look very brown at the end of the said 35 mins. I ended up baking them for almost 50 mins by which I had burned the edges. So I would definitely recommend baking them only for 35 mins (maybe just 5 mins more) even if they don't look very brown on top.
In other noteworthy food related news from this weekend, I made a very unusual dal on a whim and it totally exceeded expectations. I had some leftover pumpkin which I wasn't sure how to use. I also felt like making a dal...so I googled (with a little bit of hesitation) for pumpkin dal. And I wasn't disappointed! Apparently I wasn't the only one to think of this and that provided some reassurance. And the first link I got looked so good that I ran with it and was thrilled at the result. There are times like these which fortify my love for the internet and the blogosphere!
- Combine first 4 ingredients in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low.
- Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Uncover and simmer until figs are very soft and filling is thick, stirring often, about 10 minutes.
- Mix in lemon juice and vanilla, then walnuts. Cool completely.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.
- Position rack in top third of oven and preheat to 350°F. Spray 13x9x2- inch metal baking pan with nonstick spray.
- Combine oats and next 5 ingredients in large bowl and whisk to blend. Add cubed "butter." Using fingertips, blend until mixture forms small moist clumps.
- Firmly press half of crust mixture (about 3 cups) over bottom of prepared pan.
- Spread filling evenly over crust. Sprinkle remaining crust mixture over filling; press to adhere.
- Bake bars until deep brown and firm to touch, about 35 minutes.
- Cool in pan on rack. Cut crosswise into 6 strips. Make 8 lengthwise cuts, forming 2x1-inch bars.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover pan with foil; store at room temperature.