Friday, February 02, 2007

dates squares

these are squares that i always remember eating for the tu b'shvat holiday.

they are also very popular in quebec where they are called carrés aux dattes or matrimonial squares [cake] in other parts of the country.

tu b'shvat date squares

ingredients:

date paste:

340 g [3/4 lb] dried dates
1/3 c brown sugar
1/2 c orange juice
1/2 c water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 c coarsely ground walnuts, optional
1/2 c shredded coconut, optional

base:

1 c cake flour or AP
1/2 c wholewheat flour
1 1/2 c rolled oats
1/4 c wheat germ, optional
1 c packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

3/4 c margarine or butter

method:

cut up dates and place in pan with orange juice, water and brown sugar over medium heat.

cook and mash until you get a paste. remove from heat and add vanilla. add optional ingredients if wanted. i like to toast the walnuts and coconut beforehand to add extra flavour. set aside to cool.

mix the dry ingredients together and then add the margarine or butter.

with your hand, mix everything together to get a crumbly mixture.

preheat the oven to 350 F.

spread 1/2 the mixture in the bottom of an 8 x 8 [or 9 x 9] pan. press down to pack.

carefully spread the date paste over the base.

spread the rest of the crumb mixture over the top of the paste and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

let cool. i like to refrigerate them for the date paste to firm up to make cutting a bit easier. also note that i used a lot more than the 'called for' amount of dates here [i wanted to use up the rest of the package!]. your date layer will be thinner.

enjoy!

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yum, these look great! We're making Apple Walnut bread for tu b'shvat, along with other things of course but I haven't picked them yet. :)

Chag Sameach!

Ari (Baking and Books)

TopChamp said...

yum. Thanks also for the prev post - really found it interesting.

Princess Jibi said...

I LOVE DATES...
During our fasting month, we normally eat dates alot, in the morning and in the evening when we use it to break the fast. My sister sometime uses dates instead of raisins when she is baking cake. And it tastes so sweet... but good.
I was wondering, how sweet exactly will this one be? Oh and where can I find dried dates, I call it smashed dates. All I find all over is the whole dates with the seed or without the seed.

burekaboy — said...

hi ari!! - nice to see you again :D apple walnut bread sounds extremely good; haven't had that in a lonnng time. חג שמח to you and the other half, too! :)

tc - glad you found it interesting. i like the traditions of this holiday a lot.

pj - the kind of dates for these squares come in a block and you can get them at a (big) grocery store in the baking section usually where the flour and sugar and stuff is. just ask for dried dates for baking. depending on the brand, you may find a pit or two left in, so be careful :O there is a brand called jaffa dates that is good and it comes in an orange box. this recipe is only semi sweet, there is plenty of natural sugars from the dates themselves.

i prefer dates over raisins any day. i know u guys eat a lot of dates to break fast; my friend's family also eats it with a soup called hrira (not in it!). i even saw them dipped in this hot flour mixture.

Pammie said...

Hi Burekaboy, I love date squares and haven't had them for a long time, your photo looks yummy. i have never seen the date blocks you've used though!

Princess Jibi said...

kool, the next time I pass a really BIG grocery store am going to say stop lets go in, and am going to go look for it. I have never eaten Dates with anything...

burekaboy — said...

pammie - thanks :) re: dates -- really? i've only ever bought them this way, in blocks, for baking purposes (pitted and compressed).

pj - LOL....well, BIG meaning something like a loblaws and not your regular small corner grocery store (though you may be able to find it there!).

Anonymous said...

is it too much to wish that this be gluten free and sugar free? ;-) or that you would come over and make some? ;-) great job! best, allergic girl [posting from a firewalled work terminal]

burekaboy — said...

hey there allergic girl! - wow, sugar free ANDDDD gluten free??? LOL. actually the filling can be made without the sugar as the dates are sweet enough on their own. as for the base and topping, can't you get GF oats? i'm sure you can replace the other stuff with a flour mix (GF goddess has an all purpose one on her site) and maybe put some sugar replacer ... always a challenge for you guys! :) thanks for stopping by and getting through the firewall!!

Anonymous said...

Hey BB: i think i would do the filling without sugar, dates are super sweet on their own. or use a light tasting honey if necessary. the flour mix is trickier. alot of the GF "flour" sources say that they use nuts too, and thus wont guarantee a lack of cross contamination. big sigh. i'm gonna have to start grinding rice myself! ;-) best, AG, still firewalled