Sunday, August 18, 2013
Despite the fact that farmer's market tables beckon with fresh local fruit, somehow a two-pound box of incredibly sweet and addicting Medjool dates found their way into my shopping cart at the grocery store. To stop myself from eating the entire box, I decided to try one of the dozens of date recipes in my collection. So many of the recipes said to use "one package of dates" and, having no idea how much was in 1940s or 1950s package, I searched for a recipe with a more specific quantity. (Dates may be homely, especially compared to a glistening peach, but don't let their appearance deter you from trying them.)
These Date Chews are a delicious, almost cake-like, bar cookie. And simple to make.
First, chop the nuts and pit the dates, the coat them in a bit of flour, which prevents them from sinking to the bottom of the batter. You can buy unpitted dates, but I prefer to pit them myself.
Mix the dry ingredients and set aside. Beat the eggs and water and add in the dry ingredients. Stir just until they are incorporated. Overmixing produces a tough texture.
Add in the date nut mixture and stir. Pour into a prepared pan. You can either grease and flour it, or line it with parchment paper. I prefer the latter, as it creates a sling by which you can easily lift the entire cake from the pan. Not to mention, the pan doesn't need to be washed.
Cut into squares while still somewhat warm. It's essential try the first piece.
Production notes: I used all-purpose unbleached flour and did not sift it. Or resift it. I'm a lazy cook, but don't tell anyone.