Walnut, Brown sugar and Date Squares
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Ingredients / Shopping List
200g butter
200g soft dark brown sugar
4 med eggs
200g SR flour
Half tsp bicarbonate of soda
200g pitted dates
180g walnuts
Vanilla essence
 
Prep Time:   0:15
Cook Time:   0:30
Makes:   12

Prep to Cook:

Line a 22 cm square cake tin with non-stick parchment paper

Oven on 180⁰C Gas Mark 4
 

 

Prep:

Check the butter is at room temperature and soft,
Cream together the butter and the sugar.
Beat in the eggs with 1 tsp vanilla essence.
Sift the flour with bicarbonate of soda.
Put the dates in the processor and chop to small sticky portions.
Remove 12 walnut pieces for decoration.
Place the remaining nuts in the processor and chop until small.
Fold the nuts and dates into the cake mixture until well blended.
Add a tsp boiling water to slacken the mixture.
Spread into the square cake tin and spread evenly.
Place 12 walnut pieces to mark the 12 square cake portions.
Cook gently until bouncy in the centre and golden.
Cool before cutting into 12 squares.
 
 
 
Check it out !
Walnuts are nutritious as they contain antioxidants, zinc and many other nutrients.  
Dried dates contain phytonutrients and antioxidants that benefit health.  Put together,as  in this cake recipe, walnuts and dates make valuable contributions to everyone’s diet.
 

Cooks Know How:

This creaming method cake incorporates nuts and dried fruit.  Nuts can cause allergic reaction and therefore their use must be declared.  The mixture of crushed walnuts with sweet dried dates makes the cake richer and helps it to keep.  Extra raising agent is used to help the cake support the nuts and fruit and prevent it being stodgy. Sodium bicarbonate is cheap and works well alongside the S.R. flour.  The flavour of the soft dark brown sugar is quite intense and this sugar imparts a deep colour to the cake.  It does not  ‘cream’ to trap air quite so efficiently as caster sugar would, and therefore extra raising agent is of benefit.  Baking the cake enables the egg proteins to set, the cake to rise and the flavours to develop.  Test the cake by pressing it lightly in the centre.  It should be lightly bouncy.  Cool the cake before cutting into squares.  

Next Time

Other nuts could be used to replace the walnuts, such as pecans, hazelnuts or almonds.  Similarly the dried dates could be replaced with soft dried apricots or prunes.  Added citrus zest or spices could also be used to create interesting flavours.  

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