Sam and I have both been poorly for the last few days, so there has been a distinct lack of baking activity. However, today I felt the need to weild a spoon, and fancied something that might help me get over the stinking cold I have been carrying.
Browsing through recipes for the Weekly Bake Off reminded me of another of Mary Berry's that I used to make very often, not so much now, but are always popular when I take goodies into work. 'The Ultimate Cake Book' includes these as 'healthy' cakes, and I guess that they are 'healthier' given that there is a lower ratio of sugar and fat to flour, and that they contain dates. They are something that the boys enjoy tucked into their lunch boxes.They are also simplicity itself to make and taste fantastic.
From Mary Berry's 'Ultimate Cake Book' (and reproduced in 'Baking Bible'; they aren't in '100 Cakes and Bakes' used for the Weekly Bake Off)
Ingredients (makes 24)
225g self raising flour
1/2 tspn baking powder
100g caster sugar
75g chopped dates
25g chopped glace cherries
1 large egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 170 fan / 190 conventional / gas 5.
Grease a 30 x 23 cm (12 x 9 inch) traybake tin.
Rub in the butter to the flour and baking powder until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the sugar, dates and cherries, and mix well. Add the beaten egg and mix to form a dough. [As you can see, I didn't separately beat my egg. I use a fork to break the yolk and then use the tines to start bringing the dough together].
Knead lightly until smooth, then press into the prepared tin.
Bake for approximately 20 minutes until risen and pale gold. Leave to cool and then cut into bars.
[Mary suggests that you remove the bars after 10 minutes cooking, and cut into bars then, replacing them in the oven for the last 10 minutes cooking. You can do this, but I've never really found it necessary and I just tend to leave them in for the 20 minutes.]