These chewy, sweet bars are a great alternative to fruitcake -- but they don't contain any alcohol, making them a kid-friendly holiday treat.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup chopped pitted dates
- 3/4 cup toasted chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit in the bottom of the pan; place it in the pan, then butter the paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Add flour mixture, and beat until just combined. Stir in dates and nuts.
Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cool completely on a wire rack. Run a knife around edges to loosen, then cut it into bars using a serrated knife. To cut the baked dough into 18 bars, make 3 cuts horizontally and 6 cuts vertically.