Tita Tere (Aunt Tere) was an old friend of my Mom’s. She wasn’t really my aunt. At least, we weren’t related by blood; but in Filipino culture, it’s not polite to address your parents’ friends solely by their first names. You always refer to them as Tita or Tito (Aunt or Uncle) or attach some other form of salutation to the front of their name as a sign of respect.
Anyway, Tita Tere was a very sweet lady and an excellent cook. In 1996, she entered her recipe for Walnut Date Bars in the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest and won 3rd place! How cool is that? These moist and chewy bars are so good and they’re easy to make because they start with a cake mix. Here is her award-winning recipe.
WALNUT DATE BARS
- 1 box Pillsbury pudding-in-the-mix yellow cake mix
- 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 3/4 cup margarine or butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups chopped dates
- 2 cups chopped walnuts
- Heat oven to 350°F. Generously grease 13 x 9-inch pan.
- In large bowl, combine cake mix and brown sugar; blend well.
- Add margarine and eggs; beat 2 minutes at medium speed.
- In medium bowl, combine dates and walnuts; mix well.
- Stir date mixture into cake batter; blend well. (Batter will be very stiff.)
- Spread evenly in greased pan.
- Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until edges are just beginning to brown.
- Cool 10 minutes. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen.
- Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled. Cut into bars.
- Store in tightly covered container.
NOTE: Don’t overbake these bars. I think they’re so much better when they’re slightly under done.