Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Mix in food processor:
¾ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1½ cup flour (gluten-free works great)
1 tsp baking soda
Salt to taste
At the end, pulse in:
1¾ cup rolled oats (maintain some wholeness to oats, for texture)
Simmer in pan until dates are fully softened into a mush:
1 pound dates
½ cup water
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Put it together
In ungreased 7½ x 11 Pyrex pan,* press 2/3 of the crumbs into the bottom for base.
Spread warm filling over the crumbs.
Top with the remaining 1/3 crumbs.
Bake till very light brown—about 20 minutes. Cut while warm.
* Does anyone own a 7½ x 11 pan? I use an 8 x 8 Pyrex pan and leave some out for another small, round Pyrex pan (diameter of 6 inches or so). Or stuff it all into an 8 x 8 pan, which works. It just makes for tall bars. And takes a little longer.
Thanks to my mom, Eleanor, and my Great Aunt Ruth for this one!