Sunday, June 1, 2008

date 'n nut fingers

I was in kind of a weird baking mood yesterday. I kind of wanted to bake, but at the same time no recipes caught my eye and I really didn't feel like doing the after-dinner dishes which for me is a pre-requisite to baking. I ended up flipping through just about every book I have looking for a recipe that would inspire me enough to get me into the kitchen, but I just couldn't find one.

Two recipes nearly got me into the kitchen last night though, both of them involving dates. Chris loves dates and we had recently bought a big container of them that were just waiting to be used. This morning it came down between the date 'n nut fingers in my Carole Walter Cookies book, or a Date Nut Cake in my Southern Cakes book. The fingers got Chris' vote, and that was good enough for me.

They are basically a bar cookie that you cut up, then dust in powdered sugar. The cookie base is pretty dense and made even denser by the sticky, sweet dates scattered throughout. The walnuts add lots of nice crunch, the dates lots of chew, and the powdered sugar coating brings the sweetness level up which is nice since the bars by themselves aren't terribly sweet.

They aren't a type of cookie that I would probably have laying around my house all the time, but they are good and a nice change from the usual chocolate/oatmeal/peanut butter combinations that I usually make.

3/4 cup all purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, well beaten
1 cup medium-chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped dates (1/4 inch pieces)
1 cup powdered sugar (strained)

Heat oven to 375. Line a 9 inch square pan with aluminum foil, then butter the foil well.

Strain together the flour and baking powder, set aside.

Place the butter in a 3-quart saucepan and heat until almost melted. Cool to tepid.

Using a large wooden spoon, add the sugar to the butter and mix well. Thoroughly blend in the vanilla and eggs. Blend in the dry ingredients, then fold in the nuts and dates.

Spread the batter in the pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until firm on top and the sides begin to release. Allow to rest in pan for 15 minutes.

While still warm, remove the bar from the pan by lifting the foil. Place on a cutting board and cut into 1 x 2 inch bars. Roll each bar in the powdered sugar, then place on cooling racks to cool completely.


burkie said...

dates are wonderful things. one of the storeboght cookies that i like are the Archway date-filled oatmeal cookies., though i'm sure a homemade version would be ever so much better....uh huh....

burkie said...

these were even better than i had hoped. smashing good! please do not short-change them just because they don't have chocolate in them.

bjs said...

yeah these WERE good -- i liked the overlay of white flour(?) that balanced out the sweetness of the dates...