I’ve been seeing recipes popping up from one of my favorite cookbooks, Breakfast, Lunch, Tea: The Many Little Meals of Rose Bakery by Rose Carrarini and it’s inspired me to dig a little deeper. When I read this recipe, it totally reminded me of fig newtons, just a little more dressed up. A layer of date compote is sandwiched between two layers of a brown sugar and oats. My only fear was that these would be a bit dry, but I figured what the heck, I had everything on hand, why not try?
After pitting and chopping the dates, simply combine them with a little water to soften them up and create a nice little compote. Meanwhile, you’ll mix together the dry goods, like oats and flour in a bowl. In order to hold the oats together, simply melt a little butter and combine it with brown sugar, molasses and light corn syrup. This creates a lovely, chunky dough. After layering the date compote between the oat mixture, I simply popped it in the oven and played the waiting game.
A half hour later, my kitchen smelled pretty darn good. I pulled out the pan, filled with perfectly golden oats and let it cool. That’s the worst and just doesn’t seem fair… I have to wait?! After already waiting while it baked? Not cool. But I did, and it was totally worth it. My worries about dry oats were quickly put to rest, as the oat mixture had the perfect amount of moisture. They’re soft enough to take a bite and not hurt the roof of your mouth but solid enough to not immediately crumble. The rich buttery oats give a nice contrast to the soft, sweet dates. It was the perfect Sunday afternoon snack.
And of course, I immediately started thinking about other fruits that might try with the oats… I’m thinking rhubarb or strawberries or cherries. Oh spring, just get here already!
Date Squares Recipe :
from Breakfast, Lunch, Tea
makes 15-20 squares
I cut this recipe in half and baked it a loaf pan. It took the same about of time in the oven as the full recipe.
2/3 cup unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
3 cups chopped stoned dates
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
1 cup wholewheat flour
pinch of salt
2 2/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon molasses
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
Preheat oven to 350°
Butter an 8″ x 10″ baking tin and line it with parchment paper
Put the chopped dates in a saucepan with 1 cup water and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the dates are soft and have absorbed all the water, about 10-15 minutes.
Stir in the vanilla and set aside.
In a bowl, mix the flour with the salt, oats and baking soda.
Put the butter, sugar, molasses and golden syrup in another saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring until melted. Pour this into the oat mixture and mix until crumbly.
Press half the mixture into the base of the prepared tin.
Spread the dates evenly over the op and sprinkle with the remaining oat mixture.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden.
Cool in the tin and cut into slices when cool.