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rhubarb cake – so easy your kids can make it

rhubarb cake

My mother in law, Aida, is visiting from England and has been with us for the past 12 days. It’s been a whirlwind visit with us trying to fit in every day with something to see, do or eat. At 92 you’d think we would be home more than usual but not with Aida. She’s game to go anywhere…well, most places that is.  I enjoy cooking for her and getting her to try some of my new recipes but this visit feels as though we’ve been eating out more than we have been in.  Last Monday we took Aida to Peggy’s Cove.  It’s one of the ‘if you haven’t been there, you haven’t visited Nova Scotia’ list of attractions.  Continue Reading →

Chocolate Scones

Chocolate SconesWhat is it about a storm that makes me want to bake? We were bracing for what was supposed to be THE storm of the century.  Forecasters got it wrong…it was just another snow storm – no crippling affect felt here.  All the hype, I suppose, got to me.  Continue Reading →

Date Squares

date squares by The Culinary ChaseYou could say date squares are a retro dessert but for me they never went out of style. In western Canada, date squares have been also known as matrimonial cake but in the east coast I’ve only ever known it as date squares. Perhaps matrimonial cake is a metaphor for marriage because it has a rough top but a sweet filling and a firm base. Or could it be alluding that the dates come first and the crummy part comes later (surely not)? It was used as the groom’s cake, when eggs and flour might have been scarce or too expensive (before fruitcake came along), and given away at the wedding as a thank you gift. No matter what the origins or what you call them, these squares will satisfy any sweet craving.

Date Filling
2 cups chopped dates
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 cups water
juice of 1/2 a lemon

Crumb Mixture
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup lightly-packed brown sugar
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick-cooking)

fiber rich dates by The Culinary ChasePreheat oven to 325f.

For the date filling, combine dates, brown sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until dates are soft and most of the liquid has been absorbed (about 5 minutes).  Remove from heat and add lemon juice and stir to combine. The date filling should be like the consistency of jam. Allow to cool to room temperature.

For the crumb mixture, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter with pastry blender or two knives until mixture is a chunky crumble. Mix in brown sugar and oats (don’t over mix). Press half of this mixture over the bottom of a greased 8-inch square pan. Cover evenly with cooled date filling then cover with remaining crumb mixture. Lightly pat down. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until light golden brown. Allow to cool before cutting into squares.

date squares in a panThe Culinary Chase’s Note: There are many recipes out there that say add cranberries, almonds, raisins but this recipe is perfect the way it is. The only thing I would modify is 1/2 cup of water for strong coffee (espresso) but that’s because I love the taste of coffee.  Enjoy!