Monday, 23 November 2015

3 ways with dates....and chocolate

Been away for a year, how did that happen? I've been baking and making but not blogging and I want to get back into it, so here is a great trio of things to do with dates.

A vegan friend of mine recently told me how she made her own twix bars, the recipe is from another site which I shall try to find in due course. The part that intrigued me was the use of dates to make the  caramel section. My girls can't eat dairy, and miss out on traditional chocolate bars, so maybe this was a way to create something for them. I already make dairy-free chocolate truffles with dates, cocoa and ground almonds and the girls love those, so today I tried out my own twix recipe:

1 pack of supermarket shortbread biscuits
100g moo-free chocolate bar
3 tbsp plamil catering chocolate
a block of dates (250g)
2tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp caramel flavouring

I heated up the dates and caramel flavouring with about 100ml of water to soften them, then when they were cooled, I blitzed them to a smooth paste with 2tbsp of cocoa powder.
This mix was then smeared thickly over 9 shortbread biscuits.

I melted the two chocolates together and cooled slightly before dropping each biscuit carefully in and turning it over very gently to coat it, using a fork. The coated biscuits were placed on the cool windowsill for about 30 minutes before going into the fridge. Done.


I had a huge amount of the date mix left and the scrapings of the chocolate, which I couldn't waste. So, I thought to myself, what can I use this for?
My girls are always on at me to make whoopee pies, which I'm not so bothered about, but I was feeling generous (why else would I have been making twix bars in the first place?) so I made up the following batter:

2oz sunflower spread
2oz date mix from above
about 2tbsp of melted chocolate
1 egg
2.5oz self raising flour
a splash of soya milk to soften the mix

I mixed all this and made 12 dollops on a baking tray, then baked them at 180c for about 15 minutes. They looked fine, but I think that the mix could have been even softer to let them spread better.

Once cooled, I made my third date and cocoa creation - frosting. Yep, if you mix equal quantities of the date mix and sunflower spread, you get the beginnings of a very good frosting consistency; it's not chocolatey enough, so I tagged another tbsp of cocoa powder and the same of icing sugar to get the texture just right. I spooned the frosting onto one cooled cake round, then sandwiched another cake on top.

A sprinkle of icing sugar and they are ready to eat: