Recipe: Make our Cheese, Walnut, Rosemary and Date Jacks

I love baking gifts for my friends and family…but not everyone shares my sweet tooth. Especially my parents who’ve been told to slim down their sugar intake.

But what do you give someone who’s avoiding the brownies, the fudges, the cake slices, the truffles? Scones? A pie? A batch of sausage rolls? OK, granted, I would love it if someone showed up at my front door with a warm batch of sausage-filled pastry. But it’s just a bit, well, boring.

Trawling through my seemingly endless back catalogue of recipes recently I stumbled upon an old snack I used to make for my kids when I was trying to be a halo-crowned helicopter parent (we’ve all been there).

For a while they were a regular fixture in our kitchen, stored in a beaten up old Quality Street tin.

This year I thought I’d spruce them up a bit…make them a little more…grown up.

I’ve used blue cheese, but if (like my husband) you think it smells like the devil’s breath, substitute it out for a good, strong extra mature Cheddar. If you’re sticking with the original, you do have to use a strong blue – the saltier and spicier the better. Stilton can be hit and miss, so instead try Danish Blue, Bleue D’Avergne or Forme D’Ambert.

Cheese, Walnut, Rosemary and Date Jacks

(Makes a 20 x 20cm tray)

Ingredients

100g unsalted butter

250g porridge oats

1.5tsps baking powder

1tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

1/2tsp freshly ground black pepper

Large pinch salt

5 dates, chopped finely

2tbsps walnuts, finely chopped

150g strong blue cheese, crumbled

50g strong Cheddar, grated

2 medium eggs

Method

Heat the oven to 200C and line a 20cmsq, deep, loose-bottomed tin. Melt the butter and allow to cool slightly. Put the rest of the ingredients apart from the cheeses and eggs, into a large bowl and combine. Add the melted butter and stir. Finally add the cheese and eggs and mix until well combined.

Press evenly into your tin and bake for 25…

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