Date Bars

I’ve been out of sorts the past couple of days.

I don’t know if it’s the weather, the three loads of laundry that’s sitting by our bedroom door-a constant reminder of the chores that need to be done-or that the BU and BC students have returned from winter break.

Ok, I’m lying.  I know it’s the students.

My commute gets longer, the lines at the grocery store are doubled, and there are practically no parking spots at Target.  I feel like I can’t get anything done.

However, there are some benefits.  For instance, being able to witness the scene they make at <insert name of favorite local bar here>, because honestly, we’ve all done it.

And by “we,” I mean girls in their 20s.

And by “it,” I mean like…

Shouting your friend’s name when they arrive.  Not only do you channel Oprah by elongating every syllable in their name, but it’s done at a decibel level equivalent to a plane taking off.

“Kaylee!!!! Kaylee is here! KAAAAAAAY-LEEEEEEE GET YOOOOOUR BUUUUUTTTTT UP IN HEHHHRRRRRRRR!!!!”

Or exclaiming that a song being played is your song.  Sweet Home Alabama was actually a response to Southern Man and Alabama by Neil Young.  It’s no one’s song.  Well, maybe except for Neil Young.

Then singing said song as loud as you can, blanking on most of the lyrics, but making up for it nonsensical English (meh reh na na la la la!)

And as the night progresses, decide that your shoes are akin to walking on hot, fiery coals.  It’s totally logical to take off your shoes and walk around, even though there may be pieces of glass on the floor.  The bar is your living room, right?

Like I’ve said, we’ve all behaved badly at that age.  Unfortunately Roo isn’t as forgiving when one of them collides into him (as he’s sitting), laughs, then a few footsteps later does the same to someone else.  And I don’t think it’s helpful that I sigh out, “I miss college,” especially since it’s been 8 years and I clearly should be over that stage of my life.

After last Saturday’s run in with the students back in town, I figured we’d have our date night at home.  And what wouldn’t be better than a slightly sweet, chewy bar packed with sticky, rum soaked dates to end that evening with?  Ok, maybe an episode or two of Modern Family, but I digress.

I love that these bars are super simple to make and help me in my effort to clean out our pantry.  The dates are somewhat decadent-plumped up from soaking in rum overnight-but the bars themselves aren’t very heavy.

Please note that the dates have to soak in the rum for a few hours, so please plan accordingly!

Adapted from David Lebovitz

Makes 16 Bars

Ingredients

One and a half cups of pitted dates, diced, mixed with 2 tablespoons of rum and set aside for a few hours (I left mine overnight)

2 flax seed eggs (2 tablespoons of ground flax seed and 6 tablespoons of warm water, mixed and set aside for at least 5 minutes)

Half a cup of sugar (this makes a not-too-sweet date bar, if you’d like something more typical, use three quarters to 1 cup)

1 tablespoon of melter butter (like Earth Balance)

1 tablespoon of hot water

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 cup of white whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

Half a teaspoon of fine sea salt

Equipment

A large mixing bowl

A medium mixing bowl

A spatula

A whisk

A 9×5″ loaf pan lined with parchment paper (optional) or butter and flour it

Add the diced dates and rum to a small bowl.  Mix together and set aside for a few hours.

Place your oven rack to the middle position in your oven.  Preheat your oven to 350F.

In your large mixing bowl, add the sugar and flax seed eggs.  Mix till well combined.  Add the melted butter, hot water and vanilla extract.  Mix till well combined and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt.  Mix till well combined with a whisk.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing till just combined.  The batter is going to be thick. Be sure to scrape down the sides, the bottom and back up the bowl to make sure everything is mixed together.

Add the diced dates (and any remaining liquid the dates were in) to the large mixing bowl.  Using a spatula, fold in the dates till just combined.

Scoop the batter into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 25 – 30 minutes.  At the 25 minute marker, remove the loaf pan and insert a cake tester (toothpick, tines of fork, etc) into the center and withdraw to see if it comes out clean.  If it does, the bars are ready.  If not, bake for another 5 minutes and check again until it does.

Cool the date bars in the loaf pan until at room temperature.  Then, remove them and cut into squares for serving.

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