My idea of a perfect date...square

Last Saturday I woke up late.

Just kidding, I haven't slept in for the last seven months.

But seriously, I did at least stay in my pajamas late, even if Helen Mae and I were not sleeping. So here we were in our pajamas at about 11am- I was looking through cookbooks and Helen Mae was chewing on a spatula.

Like I mentioned earlier I have a giant tub of chopped dates and now I'm looking everywhere for date recipes- so when I stumbled upon this lovely recipe from Cookies, irresistible biscuits, brownies, and bars by Hilaire Walden I decided to fumble through the kitchen and see if I could make it without having to change into real clothes and go to the grocery store. The recipe is called Date Crunch- but it honestly was not crunchy in any way- I would have called it Date Chew- but let's face it- that would be a very odd name and also not so appealing- so I'm calling them Chewy Chocolate Topped Date Bars. They were oh so easy to make and I had all of the ingredients in the house (except raisins-the ones in my pantry had expired in 2006). The bars were really good- they had a very clear date flavor that went really well with the semi-sweet chocolate (umm, what doesn't go well with chocolate?). Here is the recipe with my changes in parentheses:

Date Crunch (Chewy Chocolate Topped Date Bars)

8 oz package of graham crackers (I used graham cracker crumbs because that was all I had in the house- but I think crushing your own graham crackers might allow you to how a "crunchier" Date Crunch so I will use whole crackers next time and crush them myself)
1/3 cup butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup pitted dates, finely chopped (I use a little over a whole cup since I omitted the raisins)
3 oz golden raisins (I omitted these because I didn't have any- but I think they would really taste great in these bars)
5 oz milk or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used semisweet chocolate chips- and just between you and me, I used quite a bit more than 5 oz)

Line a 7 inch square shallow cake pan with foil. Put the crackers in a plastic bag and crush coarsely with a rolling pin. Gently heat the butter and syrup in a small saucepan until the butter has melted. Stir in the crushed crackers, the dates and golden raisins and mix well. Spoon into the prepared pan, press flat with the back of a spoon and chill for 1 hour (I really pressed these down firmly and I left them in the fridge for about 2 hours).

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, over a saucepan of hot water, stirring until smooth (I melted the chocolate chips in the microwave on low). Spoon over the cookie mixture, spreading evenly with a spatula. Chill until set (I let mine sit in the fridge for about an hour). Lift the foil out of the cake pan and peel away. Cut the crunch into 24 pieces and arrange on a plate (you can arrange them in a ridiculous tower if you want to).


Wandering Coyote said...

I would never have thought of pairing dates and chocolate. I'll have to take your word that it works, because I'm not the biggest fan of dates.

That being said, I do know that dates are very versatile: my mom used to make date and oatmeal cookies (alas, I don't have the recipe) and date square are always popular. They also do well in various cakes.

Rosie said...

Ahhhhh Helen Mae is Soooooo cute!!

Dates and chocolate what a great combo and your squares do look perfect!!

Rosie x

Tartelette said...

Your baby girl is adorable!! Love this recipe, very new and creative!

Jaime said...

your daughter is adorable.
here is another date recipe - i made it around christmas last year - some people liked it, others didn't care for it so much

Emily Rose said...

Those cookies look amazing! I LOVE Middle Eastern food- I am definitely going to make these- I will post my results, but I'm not sure if they will turn out as pretty as yours did!