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Tamara Jane's date recipes - 11 June

Date, Pecan & Ginger Cookies

Makes approximately 24 biscuits

85g (1/2 cup) pitted dried dates, roughly chopped
200g (1 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) olive oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
115g (3/4 cup) self-raising flour
115g (3/4 cup) plain flour
2 tsp ground ginger
70g (1/2 cup) pecans

- Preheat oven to 180degC.
- Line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
- Place dates in a bowl and cover with boiling water.
- Soak for 5 minutes. Drain.
- Meanwhile, combine sugar, oil, egg and vanilla in a large bowl.
- Add flours and ground ginger and stir until combined.
- Add pecans and dates and stir to combine.
- Roll mixture into 24 portions and place on lined trays about 5cm apart.
- Press each cookie to flatten slightly.
- Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and place on rack to cool.

Banana and Date Cakes with Caramel Sauce

1 cup self-raising flour
2 tablespoons plain flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
125g pitted dates, chopped
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup mashed banana (see note)
1 cup water
1 teaspoon corn flour
100ml buttermilk, extra
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

- Preheat oven to 180degC.
- Lightly grease a 6 x 3/4-cup capacity Texas muffin pan.
- Sift flours, bicarbonate of soda and nutmeg into a bowl. Add dates and 1/3 cup sugar. Mix well.
- Whisk eggs and 1 cup buttermilk together in a jug with a fork until combined.
- Add banana. Mix well.
- Stir into dry ingredients until just combined.
- Spoon mixture into muffin holes so they are three-quarters full.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Stand in pan for 5 minutes.
- Turn onto a wire rack while making sauce.
- Place remaining 2/3 cup sugar and water into a saucepan over medium heat.
- Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil.
- Boil for 12 to 15 minutes or until sauce reduces and thickens slightly.
- Remove from heat. Set aside for 5 minutes.
- Combine cornflour and 1/4 cup buttermilk in a jug. Mix to a smooth paste.
- Add to sauce with remaining buttermilk and vanilla.
- Return to stovetop over low heat.
- Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until sauce just comes to the boil.
- Place warm cakes onto serving plates. Top each cake with 1 scoop of ice-cream.
- Spoon over sauce. Serve immediately.

Orange and Date Scones

Melted butter or margarine, for greasing
2 1/3 cups (350g) self-raising flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
40g (2 tbs) butter
1 orange, rind finely grated, juiced
1 cup (165g) chopped dried dates
1 egg, lightly whisked
125mls (1/2 cup) milk
Butter, to serve

- Preheat oven to 180degC. Brush a baking tray with melted butter or margarine to grease lightly.
- Sift the flour, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl.
- Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the orange rind and dates.
- Combine the orange juice, egg and milk in a small jug.
- Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the combined liquids.
- Mix the liquid into the dry ingredients with a round-bladed knife until the mixture starts to come together. Use your hands to form the mixture into a ball.
- Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and press into a 2cm-thick round.
- Cut out the dough with a floured 5cm scone cutter and place onto prepared tray. Repeat with any remaining dough scraps.
- Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden and sound hollow when tapped. Serve warm with butter.