Difficulty: Easy - for beginners
Dietary guidance: v v g
1 pound chopped dates
3/4 cup apple cider or juice
1/4 cup Cognac or brandy
1 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup finely chopped pistachios
In a large saucepan, combine the dates, apple cider, Cognac and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes or until liquid is almost evaporated, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Cool to room temperature.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and remaining salt. Add butter; mix well. Press 1-1/3 cups into a greased 9-in. square baking pan. Add pistachios to remaining oat mixture; set aside.
Spread date mixture over crust; top with reserved pistachio mixture. Bake at 350° for 24-28 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares.