Bet you haven't had a date lately. No, I'm not talking about the kind where a guy nervously calls a girl he likes and asks her to accompany him on an outing. I'm talking about the fruit. Dates are an ancient fruit grown on the palm tree in temperate climates. You can find them mentioned in the Bible. Wonderfully sweet, they are actually quite nutritious. An excellent source of fiber, iron and potassium, they are also rich in minerals like calcium, manganese, copper and magnesium (Source).Why don't we often find them used in modern recipes? After thousands of years culinary use, they seem to have fallen out of favor. I'm afraid a whole generation can only offer a blank stare when asked about them.
Our grandmothers often used them in a variety of cookies and pastries. During the holiday season I remember my mother making Skillet Cookies and dates were one of the ingredients. I had not had them in many years. Recently I made them. I was surprised that these cookies tasted even better than I remembered. Unusual, but very nice.
|They taste so sweet--but, perhaps they don't look too appetizing.|
|I only needed three of these large gumdrops to make 1/4 cup.|
In a separate bowl place 2 cups of crisp rice cereal, 1/4 cup chopped nuts and 1/4 cup chopped gumdrop candies. (Another time I may try substituting chopped maraschino cherries for the gumdrops.)
In a skillet place the dates, 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup butter. Add one beaten egg and mix well. Turn the heat to low.
Stirring constantly, continue to cook over low heat just until the mixture begins to pull away from the sides of the skillet. It takes a little while!
Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
Working quickly pour date mixture over cereal mixture and mix well. When cool enough to handle scoop up about a teaspoonful and form into a ball. Immediately roll in powdered sugar and set in a container or on plastic wrap. Store in a covered container.
They are now ready to enjoy. Tasty!
I remember that these cookies were best eaten fresh, but a few days later, they were still very good.