The recipe for these Spiced Date Crunchies is taken from Delia Smith's Book of Cakes, an old book I rescued when clearing my mother's house earlier this year. I love dates, especially as the filling in chunky, chewy oat slices. This recipe looked similar, but Delia promised the use of semolina would make the bars crisp rather than chewy.
The date filling was made from 225g chopped dates simmered with a tablespoon of dark brown sugar, 4 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and half a teaspoon of cinnamon, until the dates were amalgamated into a soft spreadable mixture.
The biscuit dough was made by melting 175g butter with 75g Demerara sugar, and mixing this into 175g SR flour and 175g semolina.
Half the dough was pressed evenly into a 30 x 20 cm baking tin, lined with parchment, and the date filling was carefully spread over this (tip - don't let the date mix get too cold, and if it's very thick, stir in a splash more water). The remaining dough was crumbled over the filling and spread evenly with a fork. Cook at 190C for 30 minutes, then cool in the tin before cutting into bars.
These date bars were crisp, as promised, but also very thin and delicate. Although this made them the right sort of biscuit to put on the tea table, I think I prefer the chunkiness of an oat based slice. It would be interesting to use the same quantity of ingredients in a smaller baking tin, say 20 x 20cm, and seeing how things turned out. They would probably need baking for longer, at a lower temperature.
The flavour was just right - neither the dough nor the date filling had much extra sugar added, so all the sweetness came from the dates - and there was just a hint of cinnamon.