Apricot-Date Bar Cookies



1 1/2 cups dried apricots, diced
1 cup dates, pitted and diced
3/4 cup orange juice
1/3 cup Sucanat
3 T. orange zest
1/8 t. ground ginger


3/4 cup Sucanat
3/4 cup Spectrum Spread non-hydrogenated margarine
1 3/4 cups unbleached flour
1 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups rolled oats

Lightly oil (or spray with oil) a 9 x 13-inch baking pan and set aside. Begin by preparing the filling: in a small saucepan, combine all of the filling ingredients and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 7-10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool completely. To prepare the base for the bar cookies: in a medium bowl, stir together the Sucanat and Spectrum Spread. Add the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon, and stir until well blended. Add the oats and stir well to combine.

Transfer half of the base mixture to the prepared pan. Using your hands, press firmly to flatten the mixture to cover the bottom of the pan. Spread the cooled apricot-date filling over the base, then sprinkle the remaining base mixture over the filling, and pat it down lightly. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. While still warm cut into 36 equal bars and remove them from the pan. Store in an airtight container.

Yield: One 9 x 13-inch pan or 36 bars


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