This recipe was not what I expected. It was very hands-on and really sticky, and the ingredients didn’t always cooperate, but it was so worth it. And anyway, who doesn’t enjoy a little challenge in the kitchen every now and then? I know I do. The reward is always better when you think outside the box a bit.
And so that proved to be true here. These date squares are excellent. The sweetness of the dates paired with the wholesome flavour of the oats is the perfect taste match. When you think about it, oats and dates are just made for each other. Add a cup of black tea alongside these sticky delights and it’s perfection.
And don’t worry; the recipe is really very simple and requires only a few ingredients. The challenge is in the mixing! Happy baking!
Yield: About 15 squares
For the filling
1 lb of pitted dates, chopped into small pieces
1 cup of boiling water
1 cup of brown sugar
For the crust
1 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1 1/2 cups of oats
3/4 cup of brown sugar
6 oz of butter, cold
Preheat the oven to 350 F on convection bake. Thoroughly grease a 8×12 inch pan.
In a pot over medium-low heat, cook all the ingredients for the filling until the dates have softened considerably, about 10 – 15 minutes. The filling is ready when nearly all of the water has boiled off. Be sure not to let it dry out! Set it aside to cool slightly.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
Add the oats and brown sugar and mix well. Next cut the butter into small pieces and mix it into the oat mixture using your fingers. Keep blending the ingredients until they form coarse crumbs.
Press about 2/3 of the crust mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Then drop the filling mixture in sections on to the crust, continuing until the whole area is covered. Finally, sprinkle the rest of the crumbs evenly over the top of the filling, pressing it down gently.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the crust has become lightly browned.
Cut into squares while still hot. Serve cold with your favourite tea or coffee.
A Note: When adding the filling to the crust, I found it was easier to drop the date mix onto the crust, rather than trying to spread it. Spreading resulted in a sticky mess that took a lot of the crust along with it!