A super easy melt & mix caramel date slice that is ready in just 30 minutes. Loved by the whole family, this slice is perfect for tucking into the lunchbox, and is great to whip up for afternoon tea.
Total Time Investment: 30 Minutes
Today I bring you yet another recipe from my Nana’s cookbook; a super easy date slice that has become a firm family favourite. I am slowly working my way through her cookbook, and uncovering the gems that the pages hold. And just in case you missed them, you will want to check out her famous scones and her delicious cheese shortbread biscuits.
Irrespective of what you call these – date slice, date bars, caramel bars, or in Nan’s words, caramel fingers – these bars are super easy to make, and always well received by my family. I cook them regularly, as they are so quick to make and are the ideal snack for tucking into the lunchbox.
As usual, I’ve tinkered with the recipe, although this time it is because Nan was so vague in her instructions rather than I felt I could make it better. Although she is no longer here to ask, I hope I have stayed true to the original.
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Ingredient Substitutions for Caramel Date Slice
Feel free to play with the type of nuts you use in this recipe. Nan’s original instructions just say “3/4 cup chopped dates and nuts” so use whatever you have on hand. I think walnuts or almonds would work equally well here.
I love Medjool dates as they are soft and delicious, and this is the variety I have used. However, any type of date will work well in this recipe. The qualifier is that some date varieties are drier than others, and if I think my dates are too dry, I soak them in boiling water for five minutes before draining and proceeding with the recipe.A super #easy melt & mix #caramel #date #slice that is ready in just #30minutes. Loved by the whole #family, this slice is perfect for tucking into the #lunchbox, and is great to whip up for afternoon tea. #snacks #kidfriendly Click To Tweet
And if you really don’t like dates, then either use all nuts in place of the dates, or replace the dates with other dried fruit. Raisins, sultanas or chopped apricots would also work well. If you decide to leave out the dates, maybe best not call it date slice though.
Replace the plain flour and baking powder with 1 cup of self raising flour.
If you only have salted butter on hand, just omit the salt from the recipe.
Tips & Tricks For The Best Caramel Date Slice
Don’t be tempted to boil the butter and sugar for too long, thinking that by doing so you will achieve a fudgier flavour in your date slice. I have learnt the hard way that this just causes the sugar to stick to the bottom of the saucepan, making it harder to incorporate into the mixture.
And conversely, don’t let the mixture cool for too long, or the butter and sugar mixture hardens, again making it difficult to mix in the remainder of the ingredients (Ask me how I know!?!).
If the butter mixture is too hot when the rest of the ingredients are added, the egg will curdle. If I am in a hurry, I mix the vanilla, chopped dates and nuts through the butter mixture, then add the flour, before finally stirring in the beaten egg. Staging the addition of ingredients in this manner allows the temperature of the mixture to drop enough to ensure that the egg does not curdle.
I have also found that this date slice is perfect for freezing, and I regularly have some on hand in the freezer for lunchbox emergencies. The pieces defrost quite quickly, so can be placed in a lunchbox still frozen, and will be defrosted by the time the recess bell rings. Meltdown averted!
Nan’s date slice ticks so many boxes for me. It is the recipe I reach for when The Princess complains that there is nothing to eat in the house, and I have failed my mothering duties … again!
She eats this quite happily, and as it keeps for at least a week in an airtight container I am saved from further moaning for just little while. Another tick for Nana’s cookbook.
Made this recipe? Tell me how it went in the comments below.
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Caramel Date Slice
- 113 g (4 ozs) unsalted butter
- 113 g (4 ozs) dark muscavado sugar
- 150 g (1 cup) plain flour
- 90 g (1/2 cup) chopped dates
- 45 g (1/4 cup) chopped pecans
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 175C (155C fan forced).
- Grease and line a 17cm x 27cm slice tin, and set aside.
- Place the butter and sugar into a medium saucepan.
- Gently stir the saucepan contents over a low-medium heat until the butter melts, then increase the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil.
- As soon as the mixture comes to a boil, remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. I normally do this step, then chop my nuts and dates whilst the mixture cools a little
- Add the remainder of the ingredients to the saucepan, and mix to combine. You should have a soft dough.
- Press the dough into the lined tin with the back of a silicone spatula, and level out the top of the slice as best you can.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until the slice is slightly risen and golden brown.
- Allow to cool completely in the tin, then slice into 16 pieces with a sharp knife.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.