8 ounces diced pitted dates (about 1½ cups)
1 tablespoon rum
1 cup all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1. Toss the dates in the rum and let them sit for at least one hour (up to 3 or 4 hours).
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch or 9-inch square pan with foil and coat the inside with non-stick spray; set aside.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt, and eggs until smooth. Mix in the butter, hot water, and vanilla, then stir in the flour mixture. Use a spatula to stir in the dates (and any liquid) and the pecans.
5. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let date bars cool, then lift out the bars. Peel away the foil and cut into squares. The bars will keep for up to four days at room temperature, or can be frozen for up to two months.