This slice is a little bit like a muesli bar for grown-ups. The sweetness of the dates and subtle heat of the ginger are a great combination. It made a delicious morning tea after an early morning visit to the markets to shop for fruit and vegetables for the week. There is a charming camaraderie among those of us who eschew a Saturday morning sleep-in for market shopping. Prepared with sturdy bags or trolleys and fortified with an espresso and perhaps a croissant, crisp, warm and buttery from the pastry stall, we examine the produce to find the best and freshest, banter lightly with the stall owners, and relish in knowledge that the prices are extraordinarily cheap and the quality wonderful. I also bought organic oats to use in this recipe, and used uncrystallised ginger, which is less sweet and has, I think, a little more warmth. It will keep well for several days in an air tight container, and is perfect with a cup of tea, or packed into a lunch box to counter the two o’clock slump.
Makes 24 pieces
250 g dates, diced
1 cup water
180 g butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/3 cups plain flour
3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/3 cup finely chopped uncrystallised ginger
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
Preheat oven to 180 C. Lightly grease a 30 x 20 cm slice tin and line with silicon baking paper. Place the dates and water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the dates soft. Set aside to cool slightly. In a medium sized bowl beat the butter and brown sugar together until soft and creamy. Fold in the flour and bicarbonate of soda until well mixed. Stir in the oats and ginger and mix until well combined. Divide the mixture in half. Press one half into the tin with your fingertips. Spread the date mixture evenly over the surface. Crumble the other half of the mixture over the top and spread out to cover, using your fingertips. Bake for 35 minutes until the top is golden. Cook on a wire rack and then cut into 24 pieces. Store in an airtight container for 3 – 5 days.