Saturday, 24 May 2014

Date Squares

I'll know that Newfoundland has really changed (for the worse) when you can go into a corner shop and not find date crumbles somewhere among the baked goods.  This one classic dessert has lasted and lasted, despite the invasion of Jos Louis cakes, jam-jams and rice crispie squares. 

But they're even better when home-made.  We started making them for church events here in Polwarth a few years ago and were amazed at how people loved them and asked for the recipe.

So, here it is. It's another one from the Cream of the West cookbook, which I have blogged about before.  Enjoy.  Hope it brings back good memories.


2 cups dates (250g)
1 cup dark brown sugar (160g)
1 cup hot water (237 ml)
(1 teaspoon lemon juice - optional - add after the mixture has cooled a bit)

Combine and cook until dates are very soft - you may need to mash them a bit .  Set aside to cool.


1 1/2 cups flour (190g)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (bicarb)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups oats (165g) (we use porridge oats rather than rolled oats)
1 cup dark brown sugar (160g)
3/4 cup butter (112g)

Mix flour, soda, sugar and salt together.  Cut in soft butter with a pastry blender or a long tined fork.  Then add the oats (The original recipe says to add the butter last, but then you end up chopping up the oats more than I like. A compromise might be to add some of the oats, but keep some back to add after the butter's been mixed in and a nice crumbly mixture is formed.)  

Press half of the mixture into a greased 8 inch x 12 inch tin, or a 9x9 square one (I wouldn't line the tin. The best part of this is the crunchy edges and corners where the date filling oozes out and cooks on) We've also had good luck with a lakeland individual traybake tin for which we do sometimes use liners. 

Cover with the date mixture, then add the final crumble to the top. Bake at 375F / 190C for 25 minutes (a bit less for the small ones). Cut into squares while still warm.