Like clear plastic couch covers, Hummel figurines and crystal candy dishes, desserts made with dates seem awfully old-fashioned nowadays.
Dates just don’t seem all that sexy, which is funny when you consider that their exotic origins. Each plump little fruit should conjure up images of North African markets redolent with spices, veiled odalisques lounging in Moorish courtyards, and furtive midnight rendez-vous at the oasis.
But unfortunately, the old-school date square that was a kitchen standby for so many years that most North American cooks automatically associate dates with grandma instead.
Comforting? Yes. Sexy? Most definitely not.
I’d like to believe that it’s still possible to rehabilitate the humble date and bring the sexy back.
These scones may not do it singlehandedly, but they’re a good start. Bust out your best china and a pretty white tablecloth, send out handwritten invitations to your neighbours / roommates / SO / pets, and brew a pot of your finest loose-leaf black tea to go with a plateful of date-and-toffee scones.
Faux British accent and raised pinkie are entirely optional.
- 3 cups flour
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup yogurt
- ⅔ cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup chopped pitted dates
- ½ cup toffee bits (look for Skor or Heath bits)
- Preheat oven to 425F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add remaining ingredients and stir until just barely moistened. Turn out onto a clean surface and knead until dough is smooth.
- Divide dough into two equal parts. Shape each part into a ¾" thick circle; using a sharp knife, score the dough into six wedges. Place on prepared baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, or until light golden brown. Best served warm from the oven with a cup of ginger tea.