Greetings, readers of Chaotic & Collected! Today, we are finally out of WWII and we’re making Date Bars. I liked this recipe for two reasons: 1. It was easy. 2. The end result was delicious. There really isn’t much to this one, and so if you’re a beginner, this might be one to check out. If you screw it up badly then, well, have you considered a hobby other than baking?
Here’s what you need:
14 graham crackers 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1 3/4 cups chopped dates 1 cup broken walnut meats 3 eggs 1 cup brown sugar Some powdered sugar
1. Preheat your oven to 375. Crumble the graham crackers. The editor says to just get graham cracker crumbs, but I ain’t about that easy baking life (or I didn’t notice that footnote before we went to the store, you pick). Do keep in mind that this is 14 crackers, not 14 sheets, so it amounts to three sheets and then half of another sheet. I crushed them up with my hands (c’mon, I washed them first!), put them in a bowl, and then to crush them up more I grabbed a spoon. I didn’t like that, so I switched to the end of the rolling pin, which I felt like worked better.
2. When you’ve got the graham crackers finely crushed, mix in the salt and baking powder. I just whisked it until it looked pretty well mixed.
3. Mix in the chopped dates and broken walnut meats. I had whole dates, so I chopped them into four pieces, and then chopped each of those in half. I’m not sure if that was right, but it worked for me. Now, if you google “walnut meats” you end up with a lot of hits dealing with making meat (like taco meat and such) out of walnuts. Do not get distracted or mixed up by such things. Based on a note by the editor on the recipe for honey refrigerator cookies, I think walnut meats are just what’s inside the shell; so, basically what you’re getting when you buy a bag of walnuts at the store. I wasn’t sure how to interpret “broken,” so I just poured out the walnuts on the cutting board, grabbed a knife, and chopped for a while. I chopped them into smaller pieces, but not too small.
4. Beat the eggs well and gradually add the brown sugar. I just beat the eggs with a fork, dumped in the brown sugar, and whisked it. You’re then supposed to beat in the first mixture (the dates, etc.). I poured the egg mixture into the first mixture and just stirred with a wooden spoon. The consistency makes it easy to mix without using an electric mixer. You’ll end up with a somewhat soupy mixture.
5. Pour this into a well-greased square pan. The editor tells us to grease a nine inch pan with butter, line it with two crisscrossed sheets of foil, and butter the foil. This is what I did. Then bake it for 20-25 minutes. I actually checked on it after 18 minutes, and I found it was ready. I’ve learned that oven times can vary, especially when you have a crappy NY-apartment oven, and so I always like to check a few minutes before a recipe says something should be done.
6. While still warm, slice it into squares and toss the squares in powdered sugar. I poured some powdered sugar onto a piece of parchment paper and rolled each square in it.
The end product is pretty delicious, I must say. Jess and I found it great to snack on while we watched The Birds in Brooklyn Bridge Park.