Date squares? Have you ever had one? Is it a dessert you associate with your great aunt Agnes? Date squares seem to have become something of an "old-fashioned" dessert. Date squares or matrimonial squares (some say because they were made with so many "dates". Get it? You gotta go on a lotta dates to get married???) as they are known in some parts of Western Canada have been around since at least the 1930s.
I knew the kids would love the oat mixture - it's pretty much a crumble topping but I wasn't sure about the dates in the middle. Would the texture be appealing? In a word. YES. Yes, it would . Granted the dates are mixed with enough sugar to make them sweet and delicious and taste bud friendly to almost anyone.
I think date squares deserve a new minute in the sun, another 15 seconds of fame and it starts right here. Try this recipe. Let me know what you think of them. I know you'll love them (so will your great aunt Agnes so be sure to share)!
Ingredients2 cups dates
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup brown sugar (can reduce or increase this amount to suit tastes)
1-1/2 cups large flake oats
1-1/4 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
- Place dates, water, juice, baking soda and sugar in sauce pan.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Using a fork or potato masher, squish the date mixture a bit to form a coarse paste.
- In large mixing bowl, add flour, sugar, oats, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.
- Mix with hands,
- Cut butter into 1 inch pieces and add to bowl.
- Using your hands, rub and mix butter and other ingredients together until you have a crumbly mixture that will hold together if squeezed.
Making the squares:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spray an 8x8 baking dish with non stick spray.
- If desired, line with parchment or nonstick foil, letting it hang over edges for easier removal later.
- Place half of oat mixture in bottom of dish and use your hands to firmly press mixture evenly over bottom.
- Add all of the cooled date mixture on top of crumble and spread evenly (I use an offset spatula).
- Add rest of oat mixture over dates.
- Gently press down to cover fruit.
- Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes, until top is golden brown.
- Remove from oven and cool completely.
- Either cut in pan or remove by pulling overhanging foil.
- Cut into desired number of squares.