Each time I step foot in my local Trader Joe's it's as if an alien force has taken over my brain. I walk around in a haze (or maybe a fog...or a daze) like some sort of specialty food junkie. By the time I get to the checkout, my basket is filled with far more than I intended and I'm grinning from ear to ear. I've also spotted Pirate Joe so I get to pick out a candy or tangerine from the pirate chest. Life couldn't possibly get any better! It's hard enough to resist all of the goodness Trader Joe's has to offer throughout the year, but when Christmastime rolls around...Forget about it!
The last time I was shopping at TJ's I picked up a package of dates from the produce section. I had no real plan for them at the time but I figured I could find some yummy recipe to put them into. I ran across a recipe for white chocolate gingerbread blondies at Martha Stewart's website and I knew I wanted to tweak it a bit and add my dates and maybe a handful or two of cashews as well.
I love the way these bars came out. Moist. Spicy and sweet...but not too sweet. Such a nice holiday treat!
gingerbread bars with white chocolate dates and cashews
by theUngourmet ~inspired by Martha
Makes about 4 dozen 2-inch squares
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped dates
2 1/2 sticks room temperature butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup baker's sugar
2 jumbo eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/3 cup unsulfered molasses
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped unsalted cashews
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 17x12 inch rimmed baking with foil or parchment paper. Lightly spray oil the foil or parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt and spices. Add the dates and toss to separate (they tend to want to stick together).
In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium high until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl with spatula as needed. Beat in the vanilla, ginger and molasses. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture just until combined. Hand stir in the white chocolate and cashews.
Evenly spread batter into prepared pan. Bake until edges are golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool completely in the pan in a wire rack. Cut into squares.
Yum! Try these. You will love 'em!