Date Caramel Shortbread Squares

Posted on by on April 3rd, 2011 | 22 Comments Β»

Date palms are native to the middle east and because of this, dates are everywhere in Israel. Literally everywhere. Just on my street alone date palms produce a bounty of delicious dates that I can just pick on my way home. Grocery stores are always stocked and the shuk has piles of them at every vendor. My favorite are the dried dates that you can buy by the box in the local super or in bulk at the spice store or shuk. They are so sweet and taste like candy.Β 

It is said that consuming one date a day is essential to for a balanced and healthy diet? Who knew?! Dates are packed with vitamins and minerals and the health benefits are uncountable.

Dates are widely used in middle eastern cooking and baking. I have cooked with them a lot in chickens, couscous and rices but have yet to bake with them, until today. My mom sent me a cookbook called The Recipe Scrapbook and thumbing through it I saw this date caramel shortbread and got excited. It uses pretty basic ingredients that I normally have in the house and lucky for me I had just bought a box of dried dates. The recipe is pretty simple and the outcome, amazing. Perfect spring dessert, little bite for breakfast or with afternoon coffee.

4 1/2 Ounces Butter, Softened, Plus 1/4 Ounce Extra
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Egg
2 Cups Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Cup Chopped Seeded Dates (about 8 large dates)
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
2 Teaspoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Confectioners Sugar

Lightly grease a shallow baking dish (mine was around 18X27 cm) and line with parchment paper, leaving it hanging over the two long sides of the dish.
Sift together flour and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside.
Beat butter, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until light and fluffy and beat in egg.
Using a wooden spoon, slowly fold in the sifted four/baking powder.
Divide the dough in half. Press half the dough into the prepared baking dish and form the other half into a ball, cover and refrigerate for 30 min.
Preheat oven to 350F
Place date, brown sugar, cocoa, the extra butter, and 1 cup of water in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil, stirring, then reduce heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until dates are soft and liquid is absorbed, stirring often.
Spread mixture onto a plate and refrigerate to cool. (about 5-7 min)
Spread date filling over dough base.
Grate or crumble the remaining dough over the top.
Bake for 35 minutes or until light brown and crisp.
Let cool in baking dish for 10 minutes and then lift onto wire rack Cut into squares before serving.

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  1. Posted on: 4-3-2011

    Hi Beth! I LOVE your today’s pictures. Looks so beautiful and you will get lots of buzz for sure!!! This looks really good. I wish I can eat that with nice good coffee… Haa.. too hungry to sleep.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 4-3-2011

      Thanks Nami!

  2. Posted on: 4-3-2011

    Wow! Fantastic appeal and amazing pictures!
    Only problem… I don’t like too much dates (because of a medicine that I had to take when I was a little girl), but maybe I can use dried figs, instead… noted! πŸ™‚

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 4-3-2011

      Figs would be good too! Or even apricots!

  3. Posted on: 4-3-2011

    Beautiful photos, Beth! I adore both dates and caramel, so your bars sound outstanding!!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 4-3-2011

      Thanks Liz! If you like dates then you will definitely like these!!

  4. Posted on: 4-3-2011

    @Beth: OMG… apricot! I didn’t think of them… I love, them, too! πŸ™‚

  5. Posted on: 4-4-2011

    I like this recipe. I’ve made a dessert with dates only once. I’m saving this one. Thanks for sharing it.

  6. Posted on: 4-4-2011

    SO yummy! A must try!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 4-5-2011

      Friefly, Yes! try them! I just had one today for breakfast!

  7. Posted on: 4-5-2011

    Lovely bars. I love dates in desserts…they are so satisfying.

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 4-5-2011

      Briarrose, I love dates too! They are so yummy!

  8. Posted on: 4-5-2011

    Those look great! Dates are very popular in the area around us too, so I may have to give these a try soon!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 4-6-2011

      If you give them a try let me know how you like them!

  9. Posted on: 4-8-2011

    woh I enjoy your blog posts, saved to bookmarks ! .

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 4-15-2011

      Thanks Jolie, Im glad you enjoy πŸ™‚

  10. Posted on: 4-14-2011

    Wow…Dates! Caramel! Shortbread! I love them all. I can’t wait to try this. Just bought a box of Medjool dates so it they don’t get eaten before I get a chance, I will bake them up in this. I grew up taking trips out to the dessert in California to buy dates and get date shakes. I love cooking and baking with them. I also enjoyed them while traveling in Israel.
    Lovely photos and delicious sounding recipe. Good job!

    • BethMichelle
      Posted on: 4-15-2011

      Thanks Denise, this will be a wonderful way to use those Medjool dates!! I never really loved dates until I moved to Israel and now I try to use them in everything!!! Let me know if you try this how it turns out for you, Im sure you will love it.

  11. Posted on: 5-25-2011

    In the recipe, you say baking soda, but in the ingredients list you wrote baking powder. Which one is it? Because these look gorgeous & I definitely want to make them!

  12. BethMichelle
    Posted on: 5-25-2011

    Yatee, Im sorry!!! Typo! I have corrected it, thank you for pointing it out. The ingredient is baking POWDER! Hope you like them, they are delicious. Let me know how they turn out for you.

  13. Posted on: 12-4-2011

    I’m making this, today, for my friend’s birthday.. he loves dates πŸ™‚

  14. Posted on: 6-8-2012

    I will definitely be trying this recipe. I’m obsessed with dates! The only way we can get them here in Canada is in a box at the grocery story. Is there a proper way of storing them?

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