Sunday, March 8, 2015

Date & Dark Chocolate Discs

I was thinking about retirement. You can laugh - go ahead.

I'm not sure if it's because of the dates in this recipe that remind me of senior citizens (dates and prunes loved by the 65+, but also well-loved by me), or I need a vacation...

So many people who retire never actually retire. They just end up working part-time instead of full-time. Or they do a day here or there. The difference is, they love it! It's like retirement makes it OK to go to work. 

Like mom always cooking us dinner growing up. The idea of dad having to cook dinner every night would both exhaust and terrify him. But when mom had to work late and dad had to cook, he didn't actually mind and he probably enjoyed it. He knew it was just a once-in-a-while thing, and I knew it meant hot dogs and KD.

Or like work-related travelling. When it's twice a year it is a relief from the office and a bit exciting. When it's every week, it becomes tiring and annoying and you learn that you really hate airport food.

Bottom line is that nothing is worse than routine than the thought of routine itself.

Knowing you are destined to do the same thing every day is simply dull. We need to mix it up a bit. And since most of us are not lucky enough to be as spoiled as celebrities with private jets and assistants galore to send us to Tokyo for the night on a whim, we can do little things. Little switch-ups.

I do this with food. I bake something new every week. You probably already know this.

I also try to cook a new dish every week for dinner. Sometimes it is life-changing, sometimes it is a snore. But, I always learn from it and it makes me think differently.

Food keeps my life a little bit unexpected, because I still have to go to work tomorrow like everyone else.

I baked these cookies in a muffin pan because I like them nice and thick. The texture stays perfectly soft in the center and the high edges are caramelized and crisp.

They also stack really well and that's fun.

The recipe is straight from a classic oatmeal cookie but the flavours are that of a classic date square. A lazy woman's date square if you will...

Cream: butter, sugar, salt, vanilla
Beat: egg 
Stir: flour, baking soda, oats
Fold: dark chocolate and dates

Perfect for breakfast, afternoon tea or right now.

It's the dark chocolate and dates that make them so lovely. Do not use milk or semi-sweet chocolate. The dark bitterness combined with caramel-like sweetness of the dates is the business. Don't mess with that.

Have a great day - do something different!

With love and recipes,

Date & Dark Chocolate Discs
Makes 24 cookies

½ cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup (145g) packed light brown sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup (142g) all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 ¼ cups (125g) quick oats
½ cup (100g) dark chocolate chipsor chunks
1 cup (120g) chopped pitted dried dates

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a standard 12-cup muffin pan.

Cream the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla in a large mixing bowl using a wide rubber spatula until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well until smooth.

Add flour, baking soda and oats and stir until just incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips and chopped dates.

Divide the dough into 24 portions (or 18 for really thick cookies!) and roll each portion into balls. Place one ball in each muffin cup and press it down evenly to fill the base. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden around the edges (14-16 minutes for super thick cookies). Let cookies cool in tray for 10 minutes before loosening with a knife and transferring individually to a wire rack to cool completely. 

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