I was recently looking for healthy, nutritious snack recipes and wanted to make something that was very high in fiber and nutrients. I have always loved dates and enjoy using them in desserts where possible. Dates are very high in protein, vitamins, and minerals and a great choice when putting together healthy snacks.
So I started my research by combing through several of my old school cookbooks and came across many different versions of date recipes. After reviewing the lot I was able to put together a version with some combined ingredients. This date square recipe is a little lower in sugar than most recipes I came across as dates are so naturally sweet on there own and have relatively high sugar content.
The filling is pretty simple with a combination of dates, butter, water, sugar and a hint of lemon rind and prepared on the stovetop before baking. I used a little more dates than most, but I prefer to have a fairly thick filling. The base and topping are primarily oatmeal, flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and butter and are halved once prepared to make a firm tart like base, and then sprinkled on top for crumbly topping.
Here are some really cool things about dates:
- Very Nutritious – a good source of potassium, B6, and iron
- Promote brain health – a natural anti-inflammatory
- Naturally sweet – can be used as an alternative to other sweeteners
- Very high in fiber – make you feel full longer and promote good digestion
These date squares come together pretty quickly and once baked you will want to let them cool down for a few hours before cutting.
Date Square Filling
- 2 cups chopped pitted dates
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp grated lemon rind
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups boiling water
Date Square base and topping
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup melted butter
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Add dates, butter, brown sugar, lemon rind, vanilla and boiling water into a saucepan. Simmer on low medium heat for about 20 minutes until the water has reduced and the mixture is thickened. Keep an eye on the mixture as the water boils off towards the end to ensure the mixture does not burn.
- In a large mixing bowl combine flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, soda, and salt and mix well with a spoon or fork until ingredients are well combined.
- Pour melted butter into the oatmeal flour mixture and mix with your hands until the butter is well mixed and crumbly.
- Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper so the paper hangs over the sides. Grease lightly with butter.
- Pour half the flour mixture into a 9-inch square pan and push firmly into the pan to form an even layer.
- Pour date mixture over top of the flattened mixture in the pan. Spread lightly evenly to cover the bottom base.
- Sprinkle the remaining oatmeal flour mixture evenly on top of the filling.
- Bake for about 35 minutes or until the topping is slightly golden brown. Let the squares cool for a couple of hours before cutting. Once cooled you should be able to lift the mixture out of the pan using the parchment paper that will then make it easier to slice into squares.