A Date with Dates

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I sometimes categorize food by age groups or maturity levels. For instance, macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, and chicken nuggets are kid food. 🌭Nachos, pizza, and tacos are teen and college-aged food. 🍕Kale, beets, salmon, egg whites, and quinoa are adult food.🥚 And finally, yogurt, prunes, bran flakes, and pickle loaf are senior food🥒. Obviously, there are no rules for food consumption, and of the above list I eat all but the pickle loaf. (Eww) But I think it’s a safe generalization to say that eating patterns tend to change a bit with age and health concerns.

There are a number of ‘adult’ foods that I haven’t been able to bring myself to try. There are several reasons for that: my aversion to fads in cuisine, cost of high-end ingredients, and my ever-present fear of kitchen misfires. If I’m going to expose my pallet to something new, I’d rather have someone skilled prepare it for me. At least then it’d have a fighting chance of being incorporated into my diet. I’m still gun-shy about gnocchi after that disaster sage-bacon-maple disaster.

Until this week, one food I’ve managed to avoid was dates. First, they look like roaches. They seem far too exotic for my very vanilla lifestyle, and I’ve only ever seen them called for in heathy recipes. I tend to avoid making healthy baked goods. Why would you do that? Why would anyone do that? But fate intervened and saw to it that I stumble upon a perfectly sinful contestant. It had lots of butter, plenty of brown sugar, nuts, and that all purpose flour everyone avoids these days. None of this coconut oil or almond flour bullshit. The recipe also claimed they were chewy. Sold. I’m in.

The composition of Nanny’s Shortbread Chews was very reminiscent of pecan pie bars, and the picture reflected that. I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t one motivation for trying them. Pecan pie is a personal favorite of mine. So, I set to work gathering my ingredients.

I bought a package of chopped dates specifically for this venture, but I wasn’t satisfied with their size. They seemed a bit too chunky and I was worried my bug association would rear its ugly head. To alleviate that concern I minced them. Since they were super sticky it was difficult to get the tiny bits to separate, but I persisted. When I mixed them in the batter, I managed to get a relatively smooth consistency.

It was a straightforward process. The shortbread base was made, pressed into a 9×13 pan, and baked. Then the remaining ingredients were mixed, poured over the hot crust, and baked until set. The bake times were significantly off from what was called for, but that was my only complaint.

The bars cooled well in the pan, were easy to cut, and stored well at room temperature for a week. How did they taste?

YUMMMMMM!!

I need to apologize to all dates everywhere for my prejudicial attitude and years of unjust ostracizing. I didn’t give you the benefit of the doubt, but rather vilified you by comparing you to the grossest of all insects. Forgive me. This exercise has taught me to open my taste buds to new foods and recipes, and I’m actively going to seek something else new to try…that isn’t healthy. 😉

Do you like dates? Do you bake with Stevia or Swerve? If you have diet restrictions, how do you get your cookies and pies and cake quotas filled. Share your thoughts with me in the comments!

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