Friday, February 10, 2012

GRANDMA'S CHOCOLATE CHIP DATE CAKE


This is a dessert I have fond memories of from my childhood. My sweet grandma Vellys would make it ALL the time! My grandparents were a huge part of my childhood, and every time we'd go on a road trip, we could count on this cake being a snack along the way.

 When my grandma passed away, I was given her collection of recipes. It has been fun to thumb through them and see all the tattered hand-written recipes jotted down on anything from a napkin to an envelope. I also came to realize she loved anything with dates, nuts, coconut and chocolate chips, since the majority of her recipes had one or more of these ingredients in them!

As long as it doesn't get overbaked, this cake is super moist and the sugared top gives it a slight crunch when you bite into it. Speaking of the sugared top, now that I am more "sugar-conscious", I realize how much sugar my grandma must have put on top to give it a thick crusty crunch. To make myself less guilty, I scaled it back a bit and it was still good. If you don't use dates or aren't sure if you'll like them in a dessert, trust me, you will. They give the cake sweetness and add moisture without adding too much distinctive flavor. 

CHOCOLATE CHIP DATE CAKE

1 1/2 C. dates, pitted and chopped (best if you use the ones not dusted in flour)
1 1/2 C. boiling water
1 tsp. baking soda

Place above ingredients in a blender. Cover with a towel and hold lid down. Puree until smooth. Let cool.

3/4 C. + 2 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 C. butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
2 C. flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Topping:
1/2 C. brown sugar or white sugar (I usually use white and do slightly less)
1 pkg. chocolate chips (I usually use milk chocolate and use all but about 1/8 C. of the chips)
1/2 C. chopped nuts, optional

In large bowl, cream sugar, butter and vanilla, then add the eggs. In small bowl, sift together dry ingredients. To sugar mixture, add flour mixture and date mixture alternately until well incorporated. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with the toppings. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool and serve with whip cream.


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