Ask your date “where have you been all my life?”

This will be my second recipe using dates as the star player.

Previously I had Sticky Toffee Pudding cake .

Oh man. I am remembering this cake. Or is it pudding? The British would call it a pudding. But then they call cookies biscuits and french fried chips,  so…

I want that cake for my birthday. Warm, sticky, soft and gooey. But still cakey. How does it do it? It’s the magic of dates.

Dates bring this whole new element to a recipe, with almost a honey like sticky texture and little pits that look like a cross between a walnut and an almond. As you dice them up they will stick to your knife and you will have to pick the pits out with sticky fingers. It’s all in the fun.

Wait, I’ll be right back. I need another slice of this “cinnamon date coffeecake” I just made, while it’s still warm. And a glass of milk.

That is what I wanted to share with you today. The recipe for this versatile and relatively quick coffeecake. No yeast involved. I suppose you could even use a baking mix and I will try it next time. I just purchased some Mary Janes Farms Organic Budget Mix that will do the job beautifully I think. Here is a picture so you can see where we are going.

Isn’t she beautiful, so shy, so dainty…oops, I forgot I am going to eat it.

Now mind you, I don’t really nibble on dates right from the box like my oldest son does. Like apples, which are great eaten raw, dates are even better, exponentially better, when baked into something. Don’t ask me why, it just is! In fact, now I wonder if I mightn’t put some dates in my next apple crisp! But then apple crisp is already so sweet and so are dates. I think cranberries in apple crisp would be more of a contrast. But I digress.

 Here is the recipe for Cinnamon Date Coffeecake. Learn to make it and all other kinds of combinations will be at your fingertips. Like raisins and walnuts. Apricots and chocolate chips, who knows what madness night ensue?
(Wait, one more piece. Hey, they are small pieces!)
You will need 2 mixing bowls, a cutting board for chopping dates and rolling out dough and a cake pan, 2″ deep and about 8″ wide to bake it in. I didn’t use that, but that’s what it called for. You will see. (oh yeah, preheat oven to 400)
In one bowl mix
1  2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
(whisk this together briefly)
3 Tbsp soft butter (cut this into the dough with a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers)
In another bowl mix
1 egg
1/3 cup of milk (have more handy just in case, like I did)
whisk this together too.
Now add the dry stuff and wet stuff together with a fork. If it is too dry, add a Tbsp of milk at a time as you toss until it is a cohesive dough. Scrape out onto a floured board and knead a few times. Let rest.
Now rinse out one of those bowls and to it add:
1/2 heaping cup of chopped dates
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp soft butter and…..
1 Tbsp dark rum!
Mix this all together with a fork. It will be sticky gooey.
Now roll out your dough into a rectangle about 8 x 14 inches. Be  sure to have flour handy for stick-age. There will be stick-age. Just sprinkle flour here and there as needed.
Now spread the gooey date stuff over the dough. Whaa? yes, it is sticky and not very spreadable. I used the tools on the end of my wrists, spreading it out with my fingers, thinking there must be a better way. But no, just poke and spread it around. In the end it won’t matter much about this part.
Starting on a long side, roll the dough up into a long snake-like (or cinnamon roll like) tube. I used a baking bench scraper” to help separate it from the board. You can use a spatula if you don’t have a scraper.  Seal the edge, pinching it to the roll so it wont roll open. Push the ends in a little to neaten it up. I turned it over, to the sealed side was down and gave it a little roll back and forth to make sure it was all snug.
Now, you will cut the roll in half long-wise. See below.

Now, gently turn the halves over, cut side up and start to twist them around each other.

Just twist around, keeping cut side out.
Oh, I forgot to mention the pan again. I cut a piece of parchment paper the size of my baking pan, which, it turns out, was too big. But I sprayed the pan with non-stick, and then sprayed the parchment after I lined the pan with it. Then I put the twist, lifting gently and carefully, into the pan like a giant donut, putting  the ends together, like so…
See, pan too big. But it all worked out in the end.
so, now we put it into the preheated oven. Oh, did I forget to mention the oven too? Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. I better add that up top, huh? So set the timer for 25 minutes. It is supposed to take 30 minutes but always check before that time just to make sure. Sure enough, mine was clearly done in 25.
nice, but it still needs a little something. Like an accessory, like ear-rings or a scarf...
So I happen to have some icing in the fridge. You could easily make some with powdered sugar and some milk drizzled in, mixing with a whisk or fork. You could even add some vanilla or soft butter. Icing is very versatile. Make it thin, with milk, and drizzle it on with a fork. Now it is a prize-winning beauty! (see picture where we started all this).
All so easy, yet looks so beautiful. More bang for the buck or beauty for the work involved. And taste? Well, you will find out for yourself, but I will warn you, there may be a free-for-all when it comes out of the oven.
ps. if you don’t have any rum, no worries mate. How about some vanilla? Just a little, not a tbsp. or just leave it out. It will be less sticky.

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