Monday, November 16, 2015
Date Nut Snowballs (How I Saved a Recipe from Disaster)
This time around, I used this recipe for Date Nut Bars. It sounded simple, delicious and a bit out of the ordinary, and would travel well without needing to be kept warm or reheated.
Because many of those attending (including me) avoid gluten, we used some Bob Mills Gluten-Free Flour instead of white flour. We noticed as we made it that it didn't actually have a base for the bars - the flour is mixed in with the filling, rather like one of Bisquick's "Impossible Pies", and that's where things went a little wrong.
Due to, well, life, we were suddenly in a whirlwind of needing to get ready to go and it didn't appear to be cooking fully, and I was no longer sure they'd cool in time or even be edible. I had no idea if it was the flour being used or the lack of a crust base or what but I was suddenly picturing a disappointing grocery store veggie platter as a Plan B.
My husband actually headed off to the store to buy more ingredients, while I finished off a couple other tasks before going to scrape out the baking dishes so we could try again.
Lo, and Behold! In the 20 minutes or so we'd left them to cool, they'd set up quite nicely and tasting confirmed they were rich and tasty bursts of flavor.
The lack of a base was still a pretty huge problem, though - these were incredibly sticky, and I don't think anyone at the potluck would have loved having to run to the nearest sink to wash up after touching one of these.
The last step was supposed to have been dusting the bars with confectioner's sugar, and I mused a moment and then pulled apart one of the sticky bars into a small ball about 1/2" around.
They were sticky enough to easily shape into a ball, and were already cooked, so... I rolled it on a plate of confectioner's sugar to coat and set it aside.
It took about 20 more minutes to turn the whole platter into these lovely little morsels and they're rich enough that one tiny bite is a lot better than a whole bar at once.
They were a huge hit at our gathering, and I'll be doing this again for Christmas. They travel very well, keep a good while in the fridge, and taste like what I figured 'sugarplums' did when I was a kid.
Oh... and I will be trying that original Date Nut Bar recipe again - but this time, I think I'm going to start with an almond flour base first.