Monday, 3 October 2011

Date and Cherry Butter Bars

Recipe Number Ninety Eight:  Page 238.

As I have mentioned before, I am not overly keen on dates. They are not particularly easy on the eye and to me the texture is quite frankly odd! Having said that, I believe that the date does have its place; surely a sticky toffee pudding would not be the same without them? On the other side of the coin, I adore cherries. I was, therefore, really in two minds when I made a start on these date and cherry butter bars.

First of all, I weighed the self-raising flour and then rubbed in a fairly modest amount of butter. I was surprised to be using so little considering that butter is in the title of the recipe. I stirred in some sugar before moving on to the dates. They were so dry and wizened I hoped they were still edible. I found that they were too tough to chop so I had to resort to scissors! Next was the part I had been looking forward to, adding cherries. Imagine my disappointment when I found that I only needed a couple! I chopped the cherries and ate a couple to cheer myself up. They were so sweet and sticky; I made a mental note to brush my teeth once the bars were in the oven. Last of all, I stirred in a beaten egg. I have never seen a yolk as bright yellow before; I wonder what the chicken had been eating! Mary says to bring the combined mixture together and then to knead it lightly until smooth. I honestly didn't think the mixture was ever going to come together, it seemed so dry. With persistence and a lot of elbow grease, I finally had a very nice smooth dough, phew! It also took a fair amount of time to press the mixture into the traybake tin; it ended up being spread quite thinly. I put the tray into the oven and, instead of being able to leave it to its own devices, I had to stay nearby as I needed to cut it into bars after ten minutes in the oven. After I had marked it into bars, I put it back in the oven for a further ten minutes. Even though it had two or three minutes less cooking time than suggested, they still got a little over cooked. While still hot, I had to cut again into bars and then leave it to cool in the tin. Once cold, I found it surprisingly easy to remove the bars from the traybake tin. When I had a bite to see what it tasted like, I have to admit I wasn't sure what to make of them! I didn't know if they were meant to be a biscuit; they were quite hard. The taste was fairly buttery and sweet. The dates and cherries gave a bit of chew to the bars. They were very nice, but not overly exciting. Neil and I agreed that they were something you wouldn't be able to stop eating though!
Lovely with a cuppa :-)


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