Moist, chewy, luscious …. date bars are a little bit of heaven. Really.

I know I’m sentimental. The day Condé Nast scrapped Gourmet magazine, I felt like a friend had died. The 68-year-old publication had been a part of my monthly routine for decades. Reading it opened my view of global cuisine, especially in the early years of my career.

Several months after the magazine stopped its monthly print publication in the fall of 2009, “The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe from Each Year 1941-2009” landed on my desk.

Sixty-eight years of Gourmet cookie history were captured in its pages, a best cookie selected each year of the magazine’s existence.

I embraced it and found that it was fun to bake cookies for friends and family chosen from the year of their birth. And that strategy seems appropriate for Valentine’s Day, a day that honors love and sweetness.

So, for my Valentine husband Phil, a 1945 Date Bar, a postwar bar cookie that tastes like it came out of an old-fashioned grandma’s farmhouse kitchen. Walnuts, graham cracker crumbs and chopped dates are the backbone of these simple treats. Moist and chewy, each nutty square is pleasantly sweet, an attribute primarily contributed by chopped dates. But brown sugar tags along, too, perhaps a 1945 tribute to the upcoming end of wartime sugar rationing.

For my daughter Alexis, a Long Beach high school teacher, 1975 Portuguese Almond Bolas, almond cookies published the year that food processors were first introduced to America.

I remember buying a Cuisinart that year. I still have it. It’s sturdy, made with metal not plastic. A real beauty.

I like to add a 2012 touch to these ’75 cookies, sprinkling a smidgen of fleur de sel (fancy sea salt) atop each before they go into the oven. I think it gives the nutty little cookies the spark they need.

And you may notice that I used unblanched almonds atop my cookies (Gourmet called for blanched almonds); I always have unblanched almonds on hand, and it was a shortcut that didn’t sacrifice flavor.

1975 Almond Bolas
Yield: about 4 dozen cookies
3 cups ground blanched almonds, see cook’s notes
1 1/2 cups dry breadcrumbs, see cook’s notes
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 egg whites (reserve yolks), see cook’s notes
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
3 egg yolks and 1 whole egg, see cook’s notes
About 4 dozen whole, lightly toasted blanched whole almonds or lightly toasted raw unblanched whole almonds
Optional: sea salt or fleur de sel
Cook’s notes: For ground almonds, I bought 1 pound (two 8-ounce packages) of blanched slivered almonds at Trader Joe’s, then ground them in batches in my food processor. It yielded a little more than 3 cups, but silly me, I threw it all in the cookie mixture. If you are using store-bought plain breadcrumb (not Panko), buy a new package for this recipe because they tend to go stale easily. I found that my dough was too dry to roll into spheres (Step #3), so I added 2 extra egg whites (unbeaten) and used the paddle attachment on my stand mixer to mix up the dough. It worked beautifully. In the book they used whole blanched almonds to crown each cookie. I always have raw whole unblanched almonds in my kitchen, so I used those. I think the cookies need a little salt, so I sprinkled a little fleur de sel on them before they went into the oven.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In large bowl, combine 3 cups ground blanched almonds, breadcrumbs and sugar.
2. Beat egg whites in large bowl of electric mixer on high speed until they are stiff and glossy. Add extract and mix on medium speed 10 seconds, or just enough time to combine. Fold egg whites into nut mixture.
3. Form tablespoons of the dough into balls and place the balls on prepared sheets, placing them 2 inches apart. In a small bowl beat together with a fork the yolks and 1 whole egg. Pressing your thumb into each cook, make an indentation in the center (it helps to hold the cookie together if you use the opposite hand to hold the opposite side of the cookie). Fill each indentation with beaten egg mixture (a scant 1/2 teaspoon for each cookie). Place a whole almond in the center of each. Bake in preheated oven for about 15 to 16 minutes (or until they are golden and nicely browned on the bottom). Transfer to rack to cool.
Nutrition information (per serving): 140 calories, 51 percent of calories from fat, 8 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 15 mg cholesterol, 12 g carbohydrates, 7 g protein, 70 mg sodium, 1.7 g fiber
Source: adapted from “The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe From Each Year 1941-2009” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $18)

1945 Date Bars
Yield: 36 bars
Butter for greasing pan
1 1/4 cups fine graham cracker crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 cups chopped dates, see cook’s notes
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
3 eggs
1 cup light brown sugar
Garnish: powdered sugar
Cook’s notes: I used an eight-ounce bag of chopped dates (Sunsweet).
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan with butter. Line pan with two crisscrossed sheets of aluminum foil, allowing a 1- to 2-inch margin of foil to come over the top edge of the pan; butter foil. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, place graham cracker crumbs, salt and baking powder; stir to combine. Add dates and walnuts; stir to combine.
3. In a separate bowl or large bowl of an electric mixer, beat eggs well (use the flat paddle attachment on mixer if using). Add brown sugar, 1/3 cup at a time, stirring or beating between additions to combine. Add graham cracker mixture to egg mixture and mix or beat to combine. Place in prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 35 minutes. Allow to rest 10 minutes in pan set on cooling rack. Using potholders if the pan and foil are still too hot to handle, pull foil from pan and set bars still in foil on cooling rack. Allow to cool 10 minutes. Invert on cutting board and peel away foil. Make 36 squares by cutting 6 rows crosswise and lengthwise. Dust with powdered sugar; place powdered sugar in a sieve and shake over squares.
Nutrition information (per serving): 170 calories, 59 percent of calories from fat, 11 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 79 mg cholesterol, 18 g carbohydrates, 5 g protein, 89 mg sodium, 1.4 g fiber
Source: adapted from “The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe From Each Year 1941-2009” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $18)