So, we have a nice little ‘tradition’ in our library at work called ‘Cupcake Thursday.’ Thursday of course, is the last day of our working week, so this can be thought of as ‘Cupcake Friday’ for those of you in the western world. About 10:30 every Thursday we all take a nice long morning coffee break together. Sometimes we even combine it with news to share/staff meetings. It’s morphed from cupcakes to cakes, desserts, squares, pies, homemade juices, etc. etc. Just about anything sweet.
Not long after I arrived in the fall semester, my ‘turn’ came up. It was definitely a challenge as I wanted to make Nanaimo Bars. With most of my Canadian co-workers from central and eastern Canada – I needed a typical western Canadian treat. It took me months to source all the ingredients. Some could be found in one grocery store, some in others. I even had to make my vanilla from scratch and that took 8 weeks alone. So, by going through this exercise, I eventually started filling my cupboards, with slightly granular icing sugar, not as sweet graham crackers, a nut chopper, a 9×9 glass pan, measuring spoons, a hand blender, and so on.
We’ve had amazing desserts and cakes and one of my favourite local specialties is a Honey Cake.
One day a few weeks ago, a couple of us Canadians confessed we knew nothing about all the different dates that we see in the grocery store, only that they were all good. We have fresh and packaged and chocolate covered dates from the Emirates, from the Kingdom of S.A. from Jordan and so on. I mused out loud that it would be so easy to make some date squares and my Egyptian co-worker Shehab, a man with a definite sweet tooth, commented to me that he had never heard of these things. A smile crossed my face…..
I had everything in my kitchen I needed. I had even recently acquired an oven thermometer to help me monitor my hot oven’s temperature.
So, I bought a few extra dates last weekend and on Wednesday night, I made the date squares / Matrimonial cake. I had no time to taste test them and instead crossed my fingers and went in to work with the date squares on Thursday.
They are the best date squares I have made….. EVER! The only difference between my ingredients in Canada and my ingredients here were the dates. The dates here are so tasty and so fresh and so readily available that the squares were absolute melt in your mouth. The entire 9×9 pan (16 servings) was consumed in about 10 minutes flat! The taste was almost sinful.
I’m taking orders now for my return to Canada in July….
BEST DATES EVER!