Sunday 14 November 2010

Date Crunchies

Time is a very precious commodity at the moment. This week was meant to be a breather as I only had only essay due in, but somehow it turned into one of the most stressful weeks so far this term. I'm not even sure why.

When I feel like this, my creativity and productivity in the kitchen and with a camera wanes. I find my mind wandering to work and other problems while I cook and a sense of guilt starts creeping in. Hence why posts have been thin on the ground recently.

My mum used to make these a lot when I was little. She always told me stories about the horrific semolina puddings they were served at school while she made them, as these have semolina in the crumbly mixture to give a lovely texture.

These are a great autumn snack - warm and surprisingly filling. There's a wonderful butter and cinnamon smell as they come out of the oven, too. I've always adored the date filling with the lemon and spice, especially where it has bubbled against the sides of the pan and goes chewy and almost caramelised.

Date Crunchies
(adapted from Delia's Book of Cakes)

For the date layer:
225g soft pitted dates
4 tbsp water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

For the outer layers:
175g plain flour
175g fine semolina
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger (optional)
pinch of fine sea salt
175g unsalted butter
75g brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 190C / 375F (fan). Grease a rectangular tin of about 20 x 30 cm. Chop the dates up into chunks. Put into a small saucepan and add all the the other ingredients. Warm over a medium heat until it forms a paste and you think you'll be able to spread it. You want it to still have some texture, however. Put aside to cool slightly.

Sift the flour, semolina and pinch of salt together in a mixing bowl. Melt the butter and sugar together in a small saucepan. Pour into the flour bowl and mix well. Quickly tip half of the mixture into the pan. Spread out and press down into an even layer. Scrape the date mix on top and spread out, right to the edges. Use a fork to crumble up the remaining topping and then sprinkle over the top. Fork it over so that it covers the date mixture evenly then press down gently. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack then cut into bars and serve.

(Makes about 12-16)

(Updated Feb 2015, again April 2018 - I took out the sugar from the filling as the dates are sweet enough, and added a touch of ginger to the outer layers, which I really liked.)


  1. Yum! These look so delicious! I love anything with dates! I will certainly try these! Say thanks to your mum!

  2. I have these in the oven now! I substitued lime for the lemon because that was what I had (and I am loving lime at the moment) and used half semolina and half polenta (cornmeal) because I love the extra crunch of polenta! Great recipe, easy but delicious! An old but a goodie!

  3. Great looking dish! Make me hungry!

  4. These are so delicious! Made them just then and love the semolina/date combination : )

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