*If you are going to make a dessert tonight, you might as well use one of the Seven Species!

12 ounces finely chopped pitted dates
cup water
 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
cup sugar
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup oats
teaspoon baking soda
teaspoon salt

1)Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2) Combine dates, water, and maple syrup in medium saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook 12 minutes or until most liquid is absorbed and the mixture is thick.
3) Let the date mixture cool.
4) Beat sugar and butter with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.  In separate bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt.  Mix on low speed the dry mixture into sugar mixture until it is crumbly.  Press 2 cups of crumbly mixture into bottom of a 13 x 9 inch greased baking pan.  Spread date mixture over bottom layer.  Sprinkle with remaining crumbly oat mixture.
5) Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

*Recipe by Shelley Neese, vice president of The Jerusalem Connection. Click here for her articles and videos.

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