Date Bars – Rachel Allen Bake

Date bar - Rachel Allen

My mum and sister must have bought me my Rachel Allen Bake book. I also have her Home Cooking book, I can’t remember where I got that from but probably mum and Anne as well. I like her style. In the bake book the first recipe is her Oat and Raisin cookies and I liked them so much for a long time I didn’t get past that recipe. However tonight I pulled out the bag of dried dates and thought I really ought to cook something with them and found a recipe for date bars in Bake. They are very simple to make although my butter was perhaps a bit soft as there was no chance of sprinkling the mixture.

I made these date bars again recently and since I had quite a few old dried dates to use I made double the quantities below and baked in a 30cmx23cm traybake tin. My butter for the crumble mix was colder so the crumble topping ended up a nice texture. Because the dates were old and really quite dry I heated the date mixture for longer than Rachel suggests and it was a lovely smooth filling. You can cut these into quite small pieces as they are very rich. They are superb and still tasted great 2-3 days later. Apologies for the picture, we got to the last date bar and I realised I’d forgotten to take a picture so had to do it quickly.

Ingredients

  • 250ml water
  • 200g stoned dates (chopped)
  • 175g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb
  • 175g soft light brown sugar
  • 100g porridge oats
  • 175g butter diced

Instructions

1. Line 20cm x 20cm square cake tin with greaseproof paper

2. Place water and dates in saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 10minutes on low heat until date mixture is very soft and thick stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

3. Sift flour and bicarb into mixing bowl. Add sugar, oats, and mix well. Add the butter and rub in.

4. Press half the oat mixture into the base of the tin. Spread date mix over this then sprinkle/cover this with the rest of the oat mixture. Press gently.

5. Bake in centre of the oven for 40 mins or until golden brown at the edges and set in the middle

6. Allow to cool completely in the tin then cut into bars and serve.

Apparently these will keep in the tin for up to a week or they can be frozen. If they are any good I must try freezing some for lunch boxes.

Updated the following day to say; yes the date bars are good, but softer than I was expecting.

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