Baked Sunday Mornings: Date Squares
Posted by hsimpsongrossman on December 7, 2014
I really shouldn’t be here now. There are a million items on my to-do list and I am still jet lagged.
I came back from NYC a few days ago, to a messy apartment (don’t get me wrong, Better Half was more than exceptional with the house and the kids, functioning as a stay home dad while maintaining a super demanding career, but messiness is in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it?), loads of study material I need to make up and a Shabbat to prepare.
I had no intention of cooking anything but the bare necessities before no trace was left of the suitcases and piles of unfolded laundry lying around and I was (at least) on par with my classmates.
My resolve did actually last a couple of days, until I saw that Baked Sunday Mornings email reminding me of those Date Squares.
Just so that you comprehend the significance of the Baked books in our family’s lives, Stubborn Mule mentioned the new Baked book, Baked Occasions, in my welcome note, threatening to read it without me as I left to NYC a day or two after the book made it to the Holy Land.
And Perfect Son insisted on going all the way to Tribeca to visit the new Baked shop, even though it meant (for him) sacrificing precious NYC touring minutes. I will be forever in his debt for that persistent as his timing was impeccable. Matt was there (Renato was due to arrive later but we couldn’t wait) and Perfect Son, equipped with Israeli Hutzpa on the one hand and his father’s genes on the other, organized a picture of us!
Mat proved to be as witty as he comes through while reading the books. When he learnt we had a long day of NYC walking ahead of us he came back with a bag full of Baked cookies to fuel us up! I was nearly tempted to leave my resume with him..
So I am asking you, dear invisible readers, how could I not have baked these Date Squares? I am not made of stone or brass, but of flesh and blood!
I baked our squares in a 8-by-11.5 inch (20-by-29-cm) glass pan, a bit smaller than the 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) pan called for in the recipe, which resulted in extra tall squares, packed with filling.
Oh, the filling. Being Mediterranean, I couldn’t resist adding cinnamon, cardamom and lemon juice to the filling and the aroma emanating from the simmering date butter was delightfully sweet and spicy.
I was a bit scared of the whole cup of (brown) sugar called for in the filling and dared use only half a cup of sugar. Next time I might try not using any sugar for the filling as I’m not sure the dates really need any added sugar.
A similar fear struck me as I was facing the cup of sugar in the crumb, so I omitted half a cup of sugar there too and compensated by adding lemon rind from half a lemon as and a teaspoon of vanilla essence.
The bars came out just a bit crumbly, which made it difficult for Better Half to stick to his carbs allotment-he was never one to resist a good cookie crumb.
Despite using white flour and butter, these date squares have a healthy appeal and are filling and satisfying – after having two squares I felt energized and ready to cook up a storm for Shabbat.
Without further ado, let me lead you to the Baked Occasions Date Squares recipe. Happy Baking!
Filed under Cookies