Saturday, 19 November 2016

Chocolate, Date and Walnut Bars

 Looking back over my blog posts I can see that it's been well over six years since I last made these. For me, that's one of the downsides of blogging - if you're usually trying to bake something new to write about, a lot of very good things often fall by the wayside.

These bars fit somewhere between a brownie and a cake; they are dense and chewy, but with a lot of the bulk being provided by dates, rather than butter and sugar, they are not as rich and guilt-inducing as brownies. The recipe comes from 'Wicked Chocolate' by Jane Suthering, and originally used 50:50 orange juice and water to soften the dates, but I couldn't taste the orange in the final cake, so decided it was a waste to use it. There is also a chocolate and yogurt frosting in the recipe (see my original post), but I'm not keen on the extra calories in frostings on things that are perfectly good enough without.


225g stoneless dates (chopped in halves widthways to check for stones - I always find at least one!)
250mls water
170g plain chocolate, around 70%, chopped roughly
115g softened butter
115g light muscovado sugar
2 large eggs
170g SR flour
115g walnuts, coarsely chopped


Pre-heat the oven to 190C/170C fan. Line a 30 x 20cm(12 x 8") baking tin with baking parchment.
Put the dates and water into a small pan and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 5 minutes to soften the dates, then remove from the heat and add the chocolate. (Note - not all the water is absorbed during the softening process.) Stir until the chocolate has melted.
Cream the butter and sugar together, then beat in the eggs, one at a time, with a tablespoon of the weighed flour.
Fold in the rest of the flour, followed by the chocolate mixture and lastly, the nuts.
Transfer the batter to the baking tin and spread evenly, then bake for around 20 minutes, until risen and firm.
Cool in the tin.
Cut into bars when cold. The original recipe suggests 24 pieces but I cut the cake into 18 bars.

Leaving the dates in quite large pieces means that there are noticeable chunks of them in the bars. If you wanted the bulk of the dates without the texture and flavour, I'd suggest chopping them more finely before cooking them, to make a coarse purée which then 'disappears' into the cake batter, as in a sticky toffee pudding.

As this is the only chocolate recipe I've made this month, I'm sending this to November's We Should Cocoa link-up at Tin and Thyme. Choclette has changed We Should Cocoa recently, so that any recipes including chocolate can be added; there is no longer a theme to follow.


Snowy said...

These look so good. I love dates, so definitely one to try.

Phil in the Kitchen said...

I'm a fan of using dates in cake and pudding mixes but I don't think I've used them in anything like a brownie. These do sound lovely. I agree with you about the temptation of always using new recipes; it's not always a good thing. On the other hand, there's always a reminder of good things on the blog that might have been forgotten.

Choclette said...

These look to be nice and fudgy, which is my main concern about brownies. Dates sounds like a brilliant way to achieve this and have a healthier bake at the same time. I know exactly what you mean about revisiting old recipes, it's not something I get to do very often. Yet there are so many good ones, it seems a bit of a shame. Thanks for sharing with We Should Cocoa.

I’m running a bit behind this month due to my advent calendar, but the round-up and new linky should be up later today.