Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The last slice

It'd been a while since I'd filled up the baking container, so I decided to make myself some oaty date bars (p65). This is the final recipe in the 'slices and squares', a section I have had no trouble getting through, since I'm very partial to a piece of slice.

I started with the filling, chopping 1 1/2 cups of dates and putting them in a saucepan over a low heat with a little water and some lemon juice.

While the dates softened, I started preparing the base. I creamed butter and raw sugar, then beat in egg and golden syrup. Into this mixture I added vanilla essence, wholemeal flour, basking powder, salt, porridge oats and coconut. It took a bit of mixing to get this to a decent consistency, but eventually I had a thick doughy mixture.

By this time, the dates had softened up nicely. I took them off the heat and set them aside to cool while I pressed the base into the tin. I used only half the mixture, utilising a wet spoon to smooth it out until it evenly coated the base of the tin.

I then spread over the base mixture. 1 1/2 cups had seemed like a lot of dates while I was chopping them, but it doesn't amount to much filling - it was spread very thinly over the base.

Lastly, I spread the remaining base mixture over the filling, and pressed it down until it was nice and smooth. The slice went into the oven for half an hour or so, then I took it out and left it to cool in the tin.

The final touch, once the slice had cooled, was lemon icing. I whipped up a quick icing, roughly based on the Edmonds one. I was slightly hampered by the fact that the lemon I'd counted on using turned out to be mouldy (and I only bought it a few days ago!) so I had to settle for a few drops of lemon essence.

I'd made the icing quite thick, so I made use of my handy wet spoon again, repeatedly dipping it in hot water to get that icing smoothed out.

When the icing had set, I cut the slice into squares, quite forgetting it's supposed to be 'bars'. It's also supposed to make 36, but I'd be interested to see how that's supposed to work! I'd used a tin only slightly smaller than the recommended 20x30, and mine made 20 small squares.

While the quantity promised seems a bit far-fetched, this recipe doesn't disappoint on taste. The dates are not really the dominant flavour - they really only serve to prevent the chewy oaty slice from being too dry. Add lemon icing for a bit of freshness, and you've got a winner. Make sure that icing's not too thick though: you don't want it overpowering the slice.

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