Healthier Date Squares
By Susan Arruda
This recipe has been drastically altered and made healthier; no refined flour, less fat and sugar than traditional recipes!
These are a surprising hit with many!! Those who have claimed to not like dates, fall in love with these and are surprised to learn they’re date squares!
1 1/4 cups spelt flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup packed brown sugar (use 1/2 cup if you prefer a sweeter taste)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2/3 cup butter or non-hydrogenated margarine
Measure the flour, oats, sugar and baking soda into a large bowl. Cut butter into the ingredients until crumbly. Press half (or slightly more than 1/2) of crumb mixture into an 8 x 8 inch square pan. The dry mixture yields 4 cups. Use 2 (or slighlty more) for bottom layer. Reserve the rest of the crumbs for top layer. For easier removal of squares, you may want to line the pan with parchment paper that overlaps the sides.
In a Saucepan, combine the following ingredients:
375g pkg. dates, chopped (watch for pits)
1/3 cup water, approximately (may need more)
1/3 cup unsweetened orange juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. lemon juice
Optional: 1 tsp. grated lemon or orange zest
Bring the above ingredients to a boil in a saucepan. Simmer until soft and mushy. Use a potato masher to puree and mash. If mixture becomes too dry, add more water and/or orange juice. Continue to simmer until excess liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat. Spread mixture over crumb layer base. Spread remaining dry crumb mixture over top of dates layer. Press lightly.
Bake at 350 Degrees Fahrenheit for approx. 25-30 minutes, or until light golden brown in colour.