January 25, 2012

Date Squares

These are not your mother's date squares.  I mean, they are like your mother's, in the sense that they have dates and oats in them, but compared to these I'm going to be blunt: your mother's suck.  I know that seems like a wild accusation, how can I go around telling you I did it better?  Because dear reader, these are the best.  They are soft and crunchy in just the right places.  The crumb is tender and light, perfectly sweetened and spiced.  The date puree is soft and oh-so-light.  The dates taste like butterscotch and the citrus burst is so bright I hear trumpets of euphoria and  angels singing.  Did your mother's date square do that for you?

I've never tasted better and I'll never make another recipe.  It's just that good.  They shouldn't even be called just date squares, maybe: date squares of my dreams or, date square that make my heart pitter-patter or, date square that make me tie my shoelaces in knots.  Try it and see.
Date Squares

I made a half batch of these in a 6-inch pan and baked them for 32 minutes.  I also substituted tangerine zest instead of clementine, but I imagine the effect was the same.

Makes: 32 small squares
Source: Seven Spoons

280g (10 oz 2 cups) pitted and halved medjool dates
1 cup water
zest from a clementine
1/2 cup ground walnuts (could use pecans or almonds as well)
60g (1/2 cup) all purpose flour
60g (1/2 cup) whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
pinch of cloves
200g (1 cup) dark brown sugar (could use slightly less)
170g (6 oz, 3/4 cup) butter, cut into cubes and let to sit out a little while
1 cup rolled oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9-inch pan with parchment, leaving an overhang.  Grease the pan and paper with butter.

In a small sauce pan place the dates and water over medium-high heat to bring to a boil.  Lower to a simmer and stirring frequently cook until all the liquid is evaporated and dates are soft, about 10 minutes.  Take off heat, add zest.  Let the mixture cool down for a while.

Puree date mixture in the food processor, then scrape out into another small bowl.  Grind the nuts; add flours, baking soda, salt, and spices.  Pulse to combine.  Add the sugar and pulse again, to mix well.  Keeping the pieces separated, crumble the pieces of butter into the flour mixture.  Pulse until the butter and flour resemble a coarse uneven crumb.  Dump the flour/butter mix into a bowl and stir in oats.  

Press a generous half of the oat mix firmly into the 9 inch pan.  Spread the date puree in an even layer over the oat mixture and top with remaining crumbs, pressing only lightly.  Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the crust is firm and golden brown.

Let the bars cool completely on a rack.  Once cooled place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.  Slice into little pieces and serve either chilled or at room temperature.  


  1. Awesome taste and texture. Love them.

  2. I just came across this, and I'm so happy to hear that you not only made the squares, but also enjoyed them. These are the nicest words I've ever read about one of my recipes I think. Thank you!