The date palm, native to the Middle East, was mentioned in the bible as the "tree of life," and the word "date" comes from the Greek "daktulos," which means "finger." Dates grow in large bunches which can weigh as much as 40 pounds, and large trees will yield more than 1,000 dates each year.
In many countries dates are added to salads, couscous dishes, and curries, but in North America, they're more commonly found in baked desserts and confections.
Because dates... are very high in sugar, they can easily be converted into sugar. To make date sugar, arrange sliced dates on a baking sheet and bake at 450 F for 10 to 15 minutes, or until very dry and hard as rocks. Grind or process in a food processor to make sugar.
Store dried dates in a cool, dry place for 6 to 12 months. Tightly wrapped fresh dates will keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Date Yields: 8 ounces dried dates = 1 cup chopped dates
Here are some popular recipes using dates, including sweet quick breads, cookies, and sweet bars.
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These classic date squares are incredibly delicious. The crust and topping are made with oats, brown sugar, and butter. These date squares would be great for a bake sale. Or take them along to a cookout or potluck.
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Chopped dates, optional nuts or seeds, and vanilla add flavor to this quick bread.
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Dried dates are featured in these moist pumpkin muffins. Oats and a streusel topping add extra flavor and texture.
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These amazing soft brown sugar cookies are topped with a dollop of thick, cooked dates and another dab of cookie batter. You'll make these again and again.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
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Orange juice adds flavor to this yummy date bread. Add some chopped pecans or walnuts if you'd like.
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These no-bake skillet cookies are old fashioned favorites. The cookies are made on the stovetop with dates, crispy rice cereal, and pecans. The mixture is shaped into balls and rolled in coconut.
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These date turnover cookies are filled with a date and nut filling for excellent flavor and pleasant texture. The turnover cookies make a wonderful snack for the weekend or make them for holiday guests.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
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These delicious muffins are filled with chopped dates and walnuts. Use orange extract or vanilla for flavoring.
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This cookie is always a favorite holiday cookie. The butter and brown sugar pinwheel dough is topped with date filling and then rolled up and chilled. The recipe makes 7 to 8 dozen cookies, and they freeze well.
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This moist date bread freezes well, so you might want to make two loaves. Try spreading plain or lightly sweetened cream cheese between two thin slices and freeze the "sandwiches" to enjoy later.