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Reminiscent of the crumbly-crusted date-nut squares you'd find in a New England bakery, this version of an old favorite adds some autumn-type spices to the crust.
1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour, traditional or white whole wlheat
1/2 cup (3 1/4 ounces) packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon apple pie spice OR a combination of 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) cold unsalted butter
2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) pitted dried dates
1/2 cup (4 ounces) boiling water
1/4 cup (1 7/8 ounces) packed light brown sugar
1 cup (4 ounces) toasted walnuts*
* Toasting the walnuts before using them brings out a nutty essence. Toast nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes -- just until you can start to smell them; let cool before using.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
Combine the flours, sugar, apple pie spice, and salt. Stir to mix well. Cut the butter into pieces and blend it into the dry ingredients, using your fingertips or a pastry blender; the mixture will be crumbly. Pour 2/3 of this into the prepared pan and pat down.
Soften dates in the boiling water. Add the sugar and process in a blender or food processor until pur*ed. Add the walnuts. Spread the filling on top of the crust. Sprinkle the reserved crust on top of the filling. Bake for about 30 minutes. The top should be lightly browned. Cool completely and cut into 20 squares.
Nutrition information per serving (1 square, 50 g): 181 cal, 8 g fat, 2 g protein, 17 g complex carbohydrates, 8 g sugar, 2 g dietary fiber, 13 mg cholesterol, 20 mg sodium, 190 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 27 mg calcium, 43 mg phosphorus.
This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. III, No. 8, September-October 1992 issue.