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What do I do with a pound of dates?

I was going through my freezer the other day and I found a bag of dates that I had thrown in there last year, simply because I wasn't eating sugar or sweet fruit at the time and couldn't think of a way to use them up before they molded (if they do indeed mold!). Anyway, now I am trying to get them out of the freezer, so I need a recipe that will use up lots of dates! I would just stuff them and wrap them in bacon, but since they've been frozen I don't know if their texture will still be good. I was thinking of making some type of compote or chutney to disguise any textural issues, something like one of these, although maybe with a more interesting spice profile (garam masala, curry, perhaps a little tamarind in the mix?):

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/aa...

http://www.globalgourmet.com/food/spe...

Does anyone have a tried and true recipe for a date chutney? Or any other delicious recipe that uses a ton of dates?

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  1. First taste to make sure they're not freezer-burned. If they're good, look for middle eastern recipes. Lots of yummy sweetmeats involving dates, nuts and rosewater.. They're also good cooked with nuts, cinnamon and honey, and then stuffed inside a cookie dough and baked.

    1. This will work, even if they are a bit freezer burned...
      My grandma made this into a log, but I've also seen them made into little balls...

      1 C finely chopped dates
      3/4 C sugar
      1 egg, beaten
      1/2 C butter
      3/4 t vanilla
      1/2 t salt
      2 C Rice Krispies
      1/2 C chopped pecans
      Coconut or more chopped pecans

      Cook dates, egg, sugar, butter, vanilla & salt to thick syrup.
      Remove from heat & fold in cereal and nuts.
      Cool until comfortable to handle. Shape into a log and then roll in coconut or more nuts.
      Chill and slice. Store in airtight container. (I put them in the fridge because it's always so hot here. Grandma just left them on the cool porch.)

      Pam

      3 Replies
      1. re: onrushpam

        Those sound deadly! I love date candy and adding Rice Krispies is brilliant. I'm guessing this is an old, old recipe, but I've never seen that combo before. I will definitely try this.

        1. re: Isolda

          Well, dunno how old, old it can be, since it includes Rice Krispies :-) My memories of it goes back to the early 60s.
          My grandma always made these as one item amongst many Christmas goodies and they were always my favorite. A friend in CA has date trees on his property. I sent this recipe and got raves back.

          1. re: onrushpam

            Oh, the early 60s is positively ancient. That's when I was born.

      2. Look up tagine recipes. Plenty call for dates, and if not, they would work well in most.

        1. This is a great recipe because 1) you can make it two different ways 2) it can be made almost entirely fat-free 3) it is quick and easy 4) it is delicious. Process in Cuisinart 1 cup dark brown sugar, 1 cup water, 8-12 oz dates (doesn't matter), rind of 1 lemon (just peel it off with the potato peeler), 1/8 tsp salt, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, and 1 tsp soda. When entirely smooth, add 1 cup flour and 1 cup walnuts (optional) and process briefly. Bake in an 8 x 8 pan at 350* for 25-30 minutes. This makes a delicate date-flavored tea cake. HOWEVER. If you hold the dates, process the other stuff, and then add the dates and just pulse briefly, so that they remain in chunks, you will have a date torte. Another option is to use egg substitute and skip the nuts to make a very low-fat but still very rich cake. I have fooled around with this recipe every which way and it always comes out; it is foolproof. Extra-good with whipped cream.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Querencia

            This looks delicious and different - thanks for sharing!

            1. re: Querencia

              I have a box of chocolate-covered dates that my parents brought back from Oman. I'm not a huge fan of dates as candy but would happily eat them whizzed up in a cake. Leaving out the lemon, do you think your recipe would work with the choc dates?

              Don't think they'd work so well in a tagine or chutney ;)

            2. In a different vein, I made this a couple times on Saturday mornings, minus all the non-fat nonsense. Very tasty.

              http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

              1. Slice a hole in the date
                insert a piece of goat cheese
                wrap in bacon

                bake in 325 degree oven until bacon is cooked.

                Sweet, salty creamy goodness

                1. Make Sticky Toffee Pudding. Or Date Cake (you'll have to look up recipes for both of them - I don't have anything reliable).

                  1. Date Cook Book - Coachella Valley, Calif 1919
                    http://www.archive.org/stream/datecoo...

                    1. I have wanted to try this Saveur recipe for sugarplums.

                      http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...

                      1. I just took my dates out of the freezer, and I have learned the following:

                        1. Dates freeze incredibly well. These were in the freezer for almost a year, not very well wrapped, and there isn't a trace of freezer burn. Texture is totally fine once thawed.

                        2. Frozen dates are like the most delicious date candy ever!

                        3. A pound of dates is a LOT of dates. I'm thawing half and putting half back in the freezer to use later.

                        Thanks everyone for the suggestions - I can't wait to try some of them! I found an interesting recipe in that old-school date cookbook for a chutney that is first on the list. Well, unless I decide to make a recipe entitled "A Good Laxative" first!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: biondanonima

                          Luckyfatima posted a date chutney recipe once on request. It sounded really good; haven't gotten around to making it yet as I never seem able to set aside dates for it - just love eating them as is!

                          Her post (verbatim):
                          I boil the dates into a soft mass, 1 cup dates, 1.5 cups water. I soak about 1/2 cup tamarind (the Indian kind with seeds and fibers) in 1 cup hot water. When it is cool, I strain this and get tamarind water. I boil this with the date pulp and stir in salt, +/- 1 tbs roasted cumin powder, =/- 1 tsp roasted red chile powder, and a bit of chaat masala, maybe 1-2 tsps (Shan Brand is good). Add water if it looks too thick. Sometimes it needs a little sugar as well. It should taste tangy, sweet and mildly hot and be liquidy but thick enough to glaze a spoon. I chill, then taste again and adjust for seasonings. Keeps well for a few weeks. Goes well with kabaabs and fried snacks like pakoras, samosas, kachoris, etc.

                          I forgot to say that I put the tamarind water and date pulp in the blender, season, and then boil it down. Hope it comes out to your liking.

                          1. re: haiku.

                            Haiku, thank you. I actually reread the recipe I was planning to use last night and realized that it wasn't a cooked chutney but more of a raw relish, which wasn't what I was looking for, so I winged it (and came up with something pretty similar to luckyfatima's recipe).

                            I caramelized a couple of yellow onions in a little oil, then added a couple of teaspoons of garam masala and let the spices toast a little. Then I added 8oz of chopped dates, a splash of cider vinegar and two tablespoons of tamarind concentrate (from a jar I bought at Patel Bros.) and enough water to get the whole thing simmering. Seasoned well with salt and that was it. It is delicious! I might have gone a little hotter myself, but since I'm giving it as a gift I didn't want to blow anyone's head off. I think it will be delicious on grilled meats, with fried snacks and maybe even as a condiment on a cheese tray. It's both sweet and savory, a little tangy and a little spicy. Just what I was hoping for!

                        2. I saw something on a food show awhile back - dates stuffed with Manchego and wrapped in bacon with some sort of mapley drizzle... it looked amazing. I would do that. And probably make some sort of bread.

                          1. Don't they make date shakes in Palm Springs? I've always wanted to try one.

                            1. Matrimonial cake! more of a winter dish but uses up a lot of dates at once and is good for you to boot. Lots of recipes on the 'net, try the one maybe from Mennonite Girls Can Cook. Very forgiving recipe, you can tweak to your liking.

                              1. http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2009/12/...
                                While not a recipe that uses lbs. of dates at a time, I hope you'll treat yourself to a batch of David's fruitcake bars. They are fabulous!

                                1. I've been meaning to make this date chipotle sauce:

                                  Ingredients:
                                  10 dates, pitted, cut into chunks
                                  4 plum tomatoes, with the juice squeezed from them
                                  13 ounces chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
                                  2 cloves garlic
                                  1/3 cup honey
                                  1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

                                  Instructions:
                                  Blend all the ingredients into a thick paste. Pour into pot and simmer over medium-low heat for about 5 - 6 minutes. (Add 1/4 cup of water after about 3 minutes of cooking and stir.) Cool and refrigerate in an airtight jar.

                                  Makes about 3-4 cups


                                  (adapted from Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet, by Padma Lakshmi, published by Weinstein Books (October 2007).

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: 4Snisl

                                    Oh my gosh, that sounds so delectable. Sweet *and* smoky? Heaven.

                                    1. re: 4Snisl

                                      Forgot to add: thanks for posting, 4snisl.