Date Squares
Author: 
Yield: about 24 bars
 
Ingredients
For the Date Filling
  • 1 pound (455 g) dried pitted dates, chopped into very small pieces
  • 1 cup (220 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
For the Crumb Mixture
  • 1½ cups (170 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ cups (120 g) quick-cooking oats
  • 4 ounces (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter, cool but not cold, cut into cubes, plus more for the pan
  • 1 cup (220 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
Instructions
Make the Date Filling
  1. In a medium saucepan, stir together the dates, brown sugar, and 1 cup (240 ml) water. Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a low boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the dates are soft and have absorbed most of the water, 7 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Make the Crumb Mixture
  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir in the oats.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the flour mixture all at once and mix on low speed until crumbly.
Assemble the Bars
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and position a rack in the center. Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light-colored metal 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) pan. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper so that it overhangs about 1 inch (2.5 cm) on the long sides of the pan, and butter the parchment.
  2. Press half of the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the date mixture in an even layer over the crumb mixture. Finally, sprinkle the remaining half of the crumb mixture over the date layer to cover. Using the palm of your hand (lightly greased if you like), very gently press the crumb mixture into the dates so it will adhere.
  3. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until the crumb turns golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, place on a cooling rack, and let cool completely. Use a paring knife to release the sides of the bars from the pan, pull up on the parchment to remove them, then cut and serve.
Notes
The squares can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Recipe by Baked Sunday Mornings at http://bakedsundaymornings.com/2014/11/24/oven-date-squares/