Baking with B: 7 Days of Christmas Treats: Date Pecan Bars

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One of the worst things you can ask a baker to do is to make a recipe and then leave it alone, but trust me when I say that leaving these bars for a couple of days and giving them some space just might be the best thing you can do for them. The flavor soaks into everything, the topping solidifies and the result is a rich, nutty bar that I literally could not stop eating. (That is, of course, once I gave myself the chance.)

Date Pecan Bars (makes 36)

1 c. dates, chopped

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 c. butter or margarine

3/4 c. boiling water

1/4 c. dark rum (or 2 tsp., 10 mL rum flavoring plus 1/4 c. water)

1 egg

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

Place dates in large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with baking soda and stir a bit to distribute. Add butter and boiling water. Continue to stir until butter has melted. Add rum, stir and set aside.

In small bowl beat egg, sugar and vanilla together well. Pour into date mixture. Measure in flour and baking powder. Stir well. Spread in greased 9×9-inch pan. Bake in 350F oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and spread with topping. Return to oven.

Topping:

1 c. brown sugar, packed

3 tbsp. butter or margarine

3 tbsp cream

1 c. chopped pecans

Crumble all ingredients together in bowl. As soon as you take squares out of the oven, spread over the top and return to oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool. Cover with tight plastic or foil and put on an out of the way shelf in your cupboard so it can mellow out for a day or two.

Happy baking!

B

KBwB-Flower-50

Last year I counted down to Christmas by baking seven different types of Christmas cookies as per my favorite Swedish holiday tradition. This year I’m making it a thing, and sharing seven more delicious recipes with you. For more inspiration, you can check out more of my baking here. For even more recipe inspiration check out my Pinterest full of food eye candy that will have you licking your computer. Promise.

Baking with B: Date Squares

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Let’s make a date, shall we, for some mid-winter treats that serve up a nice hit of sweetness without being too unhealthy. When you combine dates with oats and pecans it’s practically like granola, which means I’m totally allowed to eat these for breakfast, right? Right? I dare you not to eat them as a meal, either.

Date Squares (serves 12)

1 1/2 c. chopped, pitted dates

1/4 c. granulated sugar

1 c. orange juice

1 tsp grated orange zest

1 1/4 c. quick-cooking oats

1 c. all-purpose flour

3/4 c. packed brown sugar

1/4 c. chopped toasted pecans

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 c. vegetable oil

1/4 c. water

Preheat the oven to 350F. Combine dates, sugar and orange juice in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until the dates are soft and the liquid is absorbed. Mash the mixture and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, combine orange zest, oats, flour, brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon, oil and water in a bowl until combined. Pat half of the mixture onto the bottom of a greased 8″ square baking dish. Spread the cooled date mixture over top. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture on top of the dates for the third layer. Bake in center of the oven for 25 minutes or until squares are golden. Cool before serving.

B’s Tip: Who doesn’t like pecans? Ok, maybe you’re actually one of these crazy people that doesn’t. This recipe can still be salvaged. I’d be willing to substitute for walnuts, or maybe almonds. It’s too hard to decide! Your squares, your choice, and let me know how it works for you.

Happy baking!

B

KBwB-BFlower-50Baking with B appears every other Monday on the Keeping Busy with B Blog. Find out why I like baking so much here. For more of my baking, click here. And for even more recipe inspiration, check out my Pinterest full of food eye candy that will have you licking your computer. Promise.

 

Baking with B: Homemade Granola Bars

Granola, granola, granola. In all the forms, with all the flavours: nuts, fruit, chocolate. You name it, I’m addicted. I’ve never really met a granola that I didn’t like and I’m a firm believer that it tastes best with a healthy heap of thick yogurt, some fresh fruit, and a drizzle of honey.

But sometimes…I get lazy. And I get busy. And in the summertime there are some days that are just so beautiful that I feel like I’ll explode if I don’t get outside right this minute and enjoy the fresh air. Who has time for things like cleaning and showering and eating when there’s sunshine and a warm breeze waiting? (I’m joking; of course I shower.)

Mornings like these my dog, Gemma, is raring to go too, so I’ve taken to making a big batch of these whenever I can force myself to stay indoors to bake for an hour or two. Then it’s grab one of these and seeing where the morning takes us- to the park, along the boardwalk- the possibilities seem endless. Better take two along, just in case.

Homemade Granola Bars (makes 12-16)

2 c. old-fashioned oatmeal

1 c. sliced almonds

1 c. shredded coconut, loosely packed

½ c. toasted wheat germ

3 tbsp unsalted butter

2/3 c. honey

¼ c. light brown sugar, lightly packed

1 ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract

¼ tsp. kosher salt

½ c. chopped pitted dates

½ c. chopped dried apricots

½ c. dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter an 8×12” baking dish and line it with parchment paper. Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ. Reduce the oven temperature to 300F. Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries and stir well. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2-3 hours before cutting into squares.

Happy baking!

B

KBwB-Flower-50

Baking with B appears every other Monday on the Keeping Busy with B Blog. Find out why I like baking so much here. For more of my baking, click here. And for even more recipe inspiration, check out my Pinterest full of food eye candy that will have you licking your computer. Promise.