During the summer I had an unabashed addiction to Larabars. Raw, natural and delicious, I was partial to the Cherry Pie, Chocolate Mint and the Chocolate Coconut bars but didn’t want to spend all my hard-earned cash on those pricey treats. So instead I headed to the grocery store, bought a bag of dates and figured I’d make my own. Unfortunately, when I got home I realized that making Larabars would probably necessitate the use of a food processor (which I don’t have) and I didn’t feel like finely mincing up dates by hand. What can I say, I can be a lazy bugger at times. Instead, I put those dates away in the cupboard for a less labour intensive use. Weeks had gone by and I kept those dates on the brain. I began to think about making some traditional oatey date squares, or matrimonial cakes, as they are sometimes known as but I never remembered to ask my mom for her traditional recipe. Instead, I made these chewy, nutty squares that resemble a chewy blondie rather than a traditional date square. Not only do these use applesauce in place of butter, but along with a pot of hot tea, it helps to take the chill off a damp evening. It may not be raw or low fat (damn, those nuts!), but these bars are delicious. Yum.
chewy date-nut squares
1 1/4 c pitted dates, finely chopped
2 T rum
1/4 c applesauce
1/4 c white sugar
1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 t baking powder
1 c walnuts, chopped
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9-inch square pan.
2. In small bowl, mix dates and rum and set aside.In a large bowl beat egg until frothy. Add in applesauce and sugar and mix until pale. Beat in flour and baking powder just until blended. Stir in walnuts and rum-date mixture. Spread in pan.
3. Bake about 30 minutes, until edges are golden and the centre is firm to the touch. Cool in pan and then cut into squares.