Cider, cognac and pistachios provide new flavor to a classic. Cut into squares and place in a plastic sandwich bag, then bundle in tissue paper and slip into a reusable fabric sandwich bag tied with a ribbon. —Lisa Speer, Palm Beach, Florida
- 1 pound chopped dates
- 3/4 cup apple cider or unsweetened apple juice
- 1/4 cup Cognac or brandy
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt, divided
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pistachios
- In a large saucepan, combine the dates, apple cider, Cognac and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes or until liquid is almost evaporated, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Cool to room temperature.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and remaining salt. Add butter; mix well. Press 1-1/3 cups into a greased 9-in. square baking pan. Add pistachios to remaining oat mixture; set aside.
- Spread date mixture over crust; top with reserved pistachio mixture. Bake at 350° for 24-28 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares. Yield: 16 servings.
Originally published as Cognac Date Squares in Taste of Home December/January 2012, p63
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