Jules Of The Kitchen_CROPPED 2In this special Ramadan series, Julia Toon, culinary motivator and author of the book ‘Good Eating: A Taste of Qatar’, will bring you recipes that are perfect for the celebration of the Holy Month of Ramadan. New recipes every week, straight from Jules of the Kitchen.


Date Caramel Bars

Dates, as we know during the Holy Month of Ramadan, are referred delicious sweet morsels and when encased in a short crumbly pastry are a respectful way to break your fast. I always like to bake with Medjool dates, the KING of dates at this special time of the year, however,  but it is possible to use a lower grade quality.

Bakes: approximately 16 bars
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Oven temperature: 180ºC


INGREDIENTS

Date Filling
200 g Medjool dates – stones removed and chopped
200 ml water
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp butter – softened
2 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp vanilla essence

Biscuit Dough
125 g butter
90 g sugar
1 egg
235 g plain flour – sieved
1 tsp baking powder

INSTRUCTIONS

Prepare baking tin

Line the base of the tin with non-stick baking paper, allowing for an overhanging collar.

Make filling

Put chopped dates into a small saucepan. Add water, sugar, butter and cocoa powder. Cook slowly and gently over a low heat until paste-like consistency. Add vanilla essence and leave to cool.

Make biscuit dough

In a bowl cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well. Sift flour and baking powder together and fold into the creamed butter mixture.

Assemble

Press out half the creamed mixture to fit the base of the lined tin.

Spread all the pureed date mixture on top of the biscuit dough. Keep the top flat and even. On a piece of non-stick paper pat or roll out the remaining dough to fit the top of the tin. Lift and place on the top. If the pastry breaks just patch up with pieces of pastry dough.

Bake

Decorate the top if you like but nothing too fancy and bake in a moderate oven until golden brown and firm to the touch. Allow it to cool before removing it from the tin and cutting it into squares.


Jules Tips: Can be made in a square 20 cm tin or a 22 cm round tin. The dough is very short, so do not worry if breakage occurs during lining, etc. Just patch up the tears/gaps with pastry pieces. Always best to line the base of the tin and have an overhanging collar with non stick baking paper, as this will aid removal once baked. I also recommend to chill in the fridge overnight or several hours before turning out, as again this does make cutting squares easier.


Contributed by: Julia Toon, Jules of the Kitchen

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