*** Still no internet, maybe Monday. On the upside, my camera is back.
Every year around this time, the magazine rack is packed with holiday cookie recipes and cookie contest winners. I always wonder what it takes to win one of these contests so after flipping through the pages of the November issue of Chatelaine, I decided to make one of their award winning treats to see for myself what all the fuss was about. I chose to make Date, Nut and Cherry Squares and although they turned out quite well, (and disappeared in remarkable time) I’m not sure that they’re the best square there is. They have a rather unusual step for a square and that’s to roll, (as well as squares can be rolled…) them in granulated sugar after they’ve been baked. I only did this for a couple of the squares as I found them to be plenty sweet and less messy without the additional sugar. I must say though, the squares certainly looked prettier when they were rolled in sugar. And either way you slice it, (or roll it), my tasters demolished the bars in no time and requested the recipe so I suppose that makes them worthy of winning awards. Maybe I’m just jealous that I didn’t win any awards…
Date, Nut and Cherry Squares (From Chatelaine cookie contest winner Mary Anna King, November 2007)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup melted butter
1 3/4 cups lightly packed brown sugar
2 cups chopped pitted dates
1 cup walnut or pecan pieces
1/2 cup chopped red or green glace cherries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Preheat over to 350F. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with oil. In a small bowl, stir flour with baking powder.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter with sugar for 2 min. Then beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping side of bowl between additions. Using medium speed, gradually beat in flour mixture until evenly mixed. Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir in dates, nuts and cherries until evenly distributed. Scrape into prepared baking dish, then smooth top.
Bake in centre of oven until top is light folder, 40-45 minutes. Place on a wire rack and cool 15 minutes, then cut into 24 squares.
Place granulated sugar in a medium bowl. Roll squares in sugar to lightly coat. Then cool completely on wire rack. If making ahead, store in an airtight container in a cool place up to 1 week or freeze up to 2 months.