A picked up a small baking book a couple of months ago that has become my favorite little book this year. The baker, Sarah Randell, has so many interesting, easy, and terrific recipes. I especially love that so many of her recipes include fruit or nuts: I’m also not baking much without one of those two things lately! The book is entitled Family Baking, and I will be posting many more of its delightful ideas. This recipe is terrific, but the original gets the name wrong, I think, so I’ve changed it (my kids all entered their ideas, we all selected Peter’s. Hazel was happy with Peter’s title, but wanted to make sure I added “Yummy” to the title. So, definitely know it’s yummy). I also have changed this recipe from the original in that I pureed the fruit mixture–I knew I would have more eaters that way.
Apple Cinnamon Bites
1 1/2 c. soft, pitted dates, chopped
2 tart apples, peeled, cored and chopped into cubes
zest of 1 orange or lemon
freshly squeezed juice of 2 oranges
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom or cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
sticky oat layer:
2/3 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. self-rising flour*
3 T unsalted butter, softened
3 T corn syrup
1 large egg yolk
*replace self-rising flour with 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt
Place the chopped dates, apples, zest, juice and spices in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once everything has come to a simmering point, reduce the heat to low and gently cook the fruit for 8-10 minutes, covered, until the apple has softened. Leave to cool. If needed, mash the fruit with a potato masher until only a few small chunks are left or puree in a food processor.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.
To make the sticky oat layer, put all the ingredients in an electric mixer and beat to combine. Spread half of this mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and press down firmly to make an even layer. Spoon the cooled date mixture on top of the oat base and top with the remaining oat mixture (I did this in drops, but you could also precariously spread the oat mixture more evenly).
Bake for 30-35 minutes until top is evenly brown. Let cool completely before cutting into bars. Yield: 16 smallish bars/bites.