Many, many years ago, when I was young, there was a date bar mix that I dearly loved. I think I made them every week. Haven't seen the mix in at least 40 years. Recently, I set out to find a recipe as close to the mix as I could remember.

Found it!

A very sweet friend said they reminded her of her mama. That's good enough for me.

Another sweet friend and I love spinach artichoke souffles. Figgered there was a recipe for them, too. It took combining two or three to get what I was looking for.

Found it!

Serve with a side salad and you have a brunch fittin' for company.

You will have some leftover store bought dip. That's what chips are for.

There's a bazillion recipes for Danish pastries with puff pastry or from scratch. If I can't improve it, I buy it at the store. I can't improve puff pastry. Use any fruit or berry you like for the filling. Be sure it is sweetened and well drained.

Date Bars

For the filling:

1 pound chopped dates

1 1/2 cups water

1/4 cup sugar

In a medium saucepan, cook over medium low heat until thickened. Cool.

For the crust:

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup butter at room temperature

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups quick oats

1/2 teaspoon soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with Pam. In a mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter until smooth. Add flour, soda, salt and oats. Beat on low only until crumbly.

Press half the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Spread filling over the crust. Drop the remaining crust mixture by rounded teaspoons over the filling. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden. Cool before cutting.

Berry Berry Good Danish

Puff pastry

Sliced, sweetened strawberries, well drained, or blueberries, or fresh sliced, sweetened peaches

For the filling:

4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix well. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut puff pastry into six approximately equal squares. With the tines of a fork, score each square within half inch of the edge. Place two tablespoons of the filling in the center of each square. Spread a little bit. Gently press 6-8 berries into the filling.

For the glaze:

1 egg

2 tablespoons water

Whisk together. Brush edges of each square. Sprinkle very lightly with sugar if desired.

Transfer squares to the prepared pan. Bake 20 minutes or until puffed and golden.

Spinach Artichoke Souffle

Puff pastry

Cut thawed pastry into 4 squares.

Press into the bottom and up the sides of an oven proof ramekin or small bowl. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

For the filling:

4 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup half and half

1/2 cup (store bought) spinach artichoke dip

3 eggs, beaten

2 cups freshly shredded parmesan cheese

1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, quartered

In a medium size heavy skillet, over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour, salt and pepper; stir until smooth. Whisk in half and half and stir until thickened and smooth. Remove from heat; stir in cheese. Add dip, then eggs. Stir briskly lest you cook the eggs. Place three or four artichoke quarters in each ramekin.

Divide filling equally amongst the prepared ramekins. Bake until crusts are deep golden brown.

Miss Olivia Sipe is the owner of Miss Olivia’s Table in Maryville.

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