Cats, Cooking, and Life!

Date Squares

Here's a traditional and fancy treat that's got some goodness in it. While it's definitely not health food, it's not as sweet as more common desserts plus there's some fibre content. We never seem to get enough fibre these days.

Date squares are typically served as a fancy treat for Sunday tea, special occasions, and important guests. Elegant and delicious, they have wide appeal. Everyone likes to get the many crumbs left in the baking dish. And, of course, it's hard to find a traditional bake sale without them.

This recipe has been handed down from the Admiral Catnap (retired) (and at least one generation before her). I think you'll find the results are as good as any you've ever tried.

You may be tempted to change the order of these directions by cooking the dates first, but please don't. It's much easier to spread the warm date mixture on the crust than after it has cooled.

Equipment note: If you have a pastry cutter, here's a good chance to use it. If no cutter, then use two table knives in a scissor motion to cut the butter into the flour. Very similar to a pie pastry recipe.

Date note: The Admiral recommends Jaffa dates as they result in a smooth paste that easy to spread when cooked. Jaffa is a city on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean.

The following recipe makes enough for a 20 x 20 cm pan (9 x 9 in) pan. These pictures show a 20 x 30 cm (9 x 13 in) pan, and we increased the ingredients by 50%.


  • 200 g flour, all purpose (1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 ml baking soda (1/2 tsp)
  • 5 ml baking powder (1 tsp)
  • 2 ml salt (1/4 tsp)
  • 250 ml butter (1 cup)
  • 250 ml brown sugar (1 cup)
  • 375 ml rolled oats (1 1/2 cup)
 Date filling:
  • 500 ml chopped dates (2 cups)
  • 60 ml cold water (1/4 cup)
  • 30 ml brown sugar (2 tbsp)
  • 15 ml lemon juice (1 tbsp)
  • 30 ml orange juice (2 tbsp)
  • grated zest from an orange


Cutting in the butter

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add sugar and oats. Mix well.

After adding the oats

Spread half the crumbs in a greased, shallow, 9-inch square pan. Pat and press the crumbs until firm and smooth.

Pressing the crust using a small bowl

Chopping dates after removing pits
Ready to cook

Cook the dates, water, orange rind and sugar in a small saucepan over moderate heat until thick and smooth. Remove from heat and add fruit juices. Mix well. Spread the date mixture over the bottom layer of the crumbs.

Cooked and smooth

Spread on bottom crust

Top the date mixture with the other half of the crumbs.  Again, pat and press the crumbs until firm and smooth.

Ready to bake

Bake at 180 C (325 F) for 35-40 minutes until the top is lightly browned. Cut squares while still hot and allow to cool while in pan.

Cut and cooled

Does Bowtie Calico approve? Yes, with a lick of her lips.

Bow-Tie Calico Approves!


Post a Comment