CLASSIC DATE SQUARES A SWEET TREAT FOR ALL AGES
Are these the best date squares ever? You bet they are so plan to make a double batch if you want them to last longer than a day! Everyone knows I’m a huge fan of the chocolate fudgy brownie but aside from a chocolate treat classic date squares are number one in my books.
I am also a big fan of oatmeal raisin cookies or just about any dessert that involves oatmeal like Nicola’s Oatmeal jam filled squares. I make these classic date squares a few times a year and they never last. Some of my colleagues ask that I make them for work now ever since I brought them in for a bake sale last year.
If you aren’t into baking date squares but you love them as much as I do then you might buy them at the grocery store, coffee shop or your local bakery. What you will notice is the price tag for one date square is pretty high. I have yet to find a thick, chewy date square for under $3.00. Ouch! I can make this full tray of date squares for around $8.00.
We all know that baking at home vs store-bought baking is much cheaper and that’s why we tend to bake more at home rather than buying from the shops. I think CBB mommy kitchen expert Nicola will agree that nothing beats the smell of homemade baking which also inspires us to keep traditions alive.
Thick Date Squares
One of the most common questions I get asked when I bring these date squares for a function or bake sale is “How do you make date squares”? They do look decadent and possibly difficult to make but let me tell you a little secret, they’re not hard to make at all.
That’s right making these date squares won’t keep you in the kitchen for hours at a time. You can whip a batch of these date squares up in under an hour.
Your friends won’t believe you that you made them because they are so rich and perfect with a hot cup of tea. Although this might not be a super healthy date squares recipe it’s a recipe anyone would appreciate for a treat once in a while.
I like to spice up my date squares so I add cinnamon to my base but I’ve also added lemon juice, orange rind and other spices. I stick to the traditional recipe for date squares with oatmeal and cinnamon in the mix.
Most times we have quick oats in our pantry but when I get a chance to buy the large flake oats that aren’t quick oats they give the date squares a chewy texture. I like to make my date squares thick so I add a good amount of oats to the base and topping.
Types of Dates
There are many types of dates around the world and common dates used for date square are Medjool which is also grown in the US and many other countries. The Medjool date is large, very sweet and perfect for any date squares recipe.
The date fruit comes from the Date palm a staple food of the Middle East which have been cultivated since ancient times. Date palms take between 4 to 8 years before they start to bear fruit which is something I didn’t know and likely why they can be a bit pricey depending on the kind you buy.
I’m also not cheap on the filling because I buy my pitted dates in a 1 lb bag at the grocery store for around $4.50 so I figured I might as well use them all up. I don’t really want a half cup of dates sitting in my pantry as I likely won’t use them before they go off.
- 13x9 baking pan
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
- 1 pound pitted dates
- 1.5 cups of water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 cups large oats or quick oats
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ cup brown sugar for oats mixture
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar for date mixture
- ½ teaspoon of baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup of cubed cold butter
- parchment paper
- cooking spray
- Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees
- Put your pitted dates in a pot with 1.5 cups of water, tablespoon of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and vanilla then cook until tender (about 15-20 minutes) then cool.
- Puree cooled dates in a food processor until blended and smooth (if you like it chunky just use a fork to mash them up)
- Spray a 13x9 baking pan with cooking spray then line with parchment paper so it's hanging over the edges
- In a bowl add the flour, salt, oats, butter, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and mix in the food processor until combined or the oats look like there are in chunks.
- Pat ⅔ of the oats mixture in the bottom of the lined baking pan. I use a fork to go around the pan to make sure it's packed in nice
- Add the date mixture on top of the oat mixture and smooth out over top.
- Use the rest of the oat mixture and just crumble over the top. Don't press in like you did for the bottom of the pan just let the oats fall all over the top of the date mixture.
- Bake in the oven for 25 mins or until golden brown at the top.
- Let cook then pull the date squares out by lifting the parchment paper out and place on the counter. Cut into squares with a knife and set them back into the pan. The parchment helps to get them out very easy.
I’m pretty sure that once you find out how easy it is to make date squares you will be making them often. Don’t be shy to play around with the spices and flavours or to bake up a batch to give to your favourite friend.
Sometimes I add rum-soaked raisins with the dates to change-up the flavour so there is no reason you can’t make your own signature date squares once you have an awesome recipe like this as a base.
Are You New To Canadian Budget Binder?
- Get every recipe from Canadian Budget Binder> Check out my new Free Recipe Index
- If you like FREE then click this link for my FREE Excel Budget Spreadsheet and all my Free Money Saving Lists!
- Check out my new Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide