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Bars are much easier and quicker to bake than individual cookies. Oatmeal is filled with soluble fiber -- the type that can help lower cholesterol -- and whole-wheat flour provides additional whole-grain goodness. Dates and raisins offer even more fiber along with natural sweetness and antioxidants.
Makes 24 servings (24 bars, 1 bar per serving)
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1/2 cup granulated sugar 2 extra-large eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 1/2 teaspoon salt 3 cups old-fashioned oats, uncooked 2/3 cup raisins 1 package (8 ounces) chopped dates
1. Heat oven to 350 F.
2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy.
3. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.
4. Add flours, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice and salt, and continue beating well.
5. Add oats, raisins and dates, and mix until blended.
6. Spread batter in 10 x 15 x 1-inch baking pan coated with vegetable cooking spray.
7. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until light golden brown. (Bars may appear slightly sticky in center with toothpick.) Do not overcook, as bars harden slightly as they cool.
8. Cool on wire rack.
9. Cut into bars after cooled.
10. Store in tightly covered container. (Bars freeze very well, too. Wrap individual bars in plastic wrap, and place in zippered freezer bag.)
Kim Galeaz is an Indianapolis-based registered dietitian and owner of Galeaz Food & Nutrition Communications. As a freelance culinary-nutrition consultant, she has worked with many companies, including The Coca-Cola Company, The Kroger Company and Weider Publications, to help position and promote smart and healthy food, beverage and lifestyle choices.
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