The Best Souveniers

We recently returned from a week-long trip to Jamaica.  While it was hard to pull the kids out of school for a few days, Chicago’s bitter cold has been painfully brutal this winter.  And, with little #4 due just a couple weeks before Spring Break, we knew that January was the best time for us to take a family vacation.  It was a wise decision, as the kids could not have been happier swimming, wandering and playing outside!

It was nice to lounge by the pool and ocean, but the kids were thrilled to venture around the island, too.  Evie came with me as we explored a nearly abandoned resort.  Aside from a few groundskeepers, the place was silent and practically crumbling into the ocean.

And, Mack could not have been more excited to scale a huge waterfall. He felt so PROUD and big when he saw that he was tall enough to conquer the challenge.

With Chris’s help, Mack did it!!  The rushing waters and slippery rocks were no match for my strong boys.

I would have been happy to join them, but little #4 kept me and Vivian on the sidelines.

(but we managed to sneak in for a quick picture!)

For me, the best part was having uninterrupted family time.  No computer or smart phone for me – I really unplugged from my day-to-day, which gave me a chance to read a real book (!!!) and carve out special time with each member of my family.

Whenever I go on vacation, I often say that the best souvenier I can bring home is a camera full of pictures.  That is certainly true for this trip, but the second best souvenier I brought home was a recipe…

…after dinner one night we enjoyed what I declared to be the BEST CAKE EVER.  It was warm and not overly sweet, and the topping was buttery and sugary and totally decadent.  I didn’t want that to be my only chance to enjoy it, so I politely begged the cook to share the recipe with me.  She opened up a drawer in the kitchen and pulled out a handwritten recipe given to her by a cousin.  I’m pretty sure angels sang and the heavens shined down upon me as I carefully copied it down.

I know the picture below doesn’t look so great – it really doesn’t do this delicious dessert any justice.  But, it was late at night and the kids were running around and I had about 3 seconds snap a pic before the vultures crowd descended on it!

Deborah’s Jamaican Date Cake

1 cup boiling water

8 oz dates, chopped

1 2/3 cup sifted flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

1 stick butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup chopped pecans (for topping)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Soak dates in boiling water until softened.

Beat butter and sugar, creaming well. Add vanilla and egg and mix well.  Put all dry ingredients into one bowl and add to the butter mixture alternately with the dates (including water).  Add more water if necessary (batter should pour).  Bake for 35-40 minutes.

After the cake comes out of the oven, remove it and place on a cookie sheet. Prepare the topping:

Beat one stick butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar until well blended.  Stir in some pecans.  Spread on top of cake and broil, watching closely because it burns quickly.

Remove from oven and serve warm.

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Written by Maureen

More posts by: Maureen

1 Comment for this entry

  1. Katie McFarland says:

    Can’t believe we’re due at the same time; I’m about a million times bigger than you! No wonder you have 4 kids when you carry so small! And so jealous that you’re enjoying Jamaica while I’m waddling around in the freezing midwest :) AND, planning on trying this recipe tonight!

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