From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...One of my favorite ingredients for fall baking is pumpkin, and at this time of year, I try to work it into breads and cakes and cookies whenever I can. I had a cup of canned pumpkin leftover from another recipe and I wanted to use it rather than throw it away. A quick search for recipes that would use that cup led me to Whole Foods Market site where I found these Pumpkin Date Nut Squares. These cake-like treats are perfect for school lunches or an informal afternoon tea. They combine the naturally sweet flavor of dates with the warm spices usually associated with pumpkin desserts and they make a great and reasonably healthy fall snack. If you enjoy date nut bars I suspect you'll love these as well. The cookies are made with whole wheat pastry flour and they are jam-packed with dates and nuts as well as pumpkin. Like any fruit cake or bar, these improve with age and I try to make them the day before I want to serve them. The recipe is straightforward and I think you will find it easy to follow. Here's how the squares are made.
Pumpkin Date Nut Squares...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Whole Food's Market
2-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
1 pound pitted dates (about 3 cups), roughly chopped
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.
2) Sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.
3) In a second bowl, cream butter and sugar together with an electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin, vanilla and water and beat again until combined.
4) In a small bowl toss dates with 1/4 cup of flour mixture until coated well. Gradually add remaining flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, beating slowly. Stir in dates and pecans then transfer batter to a greased 13x9x2-inch baking pan and spread out evenly.
5) Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool on a rack, then cut into squares and serve. Yield: 24 Squares.
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