Aunt Orabelle's Date Squares

Sunday 21 February 2016

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 There are certain foods from your childhood that stand out and never get old . .  dishes which evoke the sweetest memories and most tender thoughts.  These squares do that for me.  Aunt Orabelle's Date Squares.  Aunt Orabelle was one of my mother's Aunts, sister to my Grandmother.  She lived up on the South Mountain back home in an old farm house, with a lino floor . . .  and she had a blind horse in the field next to her house that we loved to feed carrots and apples to.  She made the best donuts . . .  and yes, date squares!

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With their buttery oaty crumble base and topping  . . .  and abundant sweet date filling, these are so, so, SO good!  I had forgotten just how good until I baked them yesterday and I was in Date Square heaven again . . .

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There is nothing on earth as delicious as one of these served up with an ice cold glass of milk.  NOTHING!

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Just look at all that sweet date filling.  I love, LOVE dates.  Sticky and sweet . .  .

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 I love oats as well . . .  buttery . . .  crumbly . . .  moreishly edible.

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 The two together  . . .  unforgettable.   These have been pleasing members of my family for a century or so.   Just sayin'  You will want to make them.  They're the best.

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*Aunt Orabelle’s Date Squares*
Makes 16
Printable Recipe 

These were always a childhood favourite and remain so to this day. I try to tell myself when I am eating one of these that they are good for me. Dates and oats can’t be bad can they? In some circles these are also known as "Matrimonial Bars." I have no idea why!

2 cups chopped dates (302g)
2 TBS brown sugar
1 cup boiling water (225ml)
1 cup plain flour (140g)
½ tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
¾ cup butter (190g)
1 cup packed light soft brown sugar (201g)
2 cups oats (not instant) (160g)
(I like the old fashioned large flakes)

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Pre-heat the oven to 160*C/350*F. Lightly butter an 8 or 9 inch square baking tin and set it aside.

Put the dates into a saucepan along with the first amount of brown sugar and the boiling water. Bring the mixture to the boil and then simmer for about five minutes, until the dates are soft and smooth and most of the water has been absorbed. Mash with a fork and set aside.

Put the flour, soda, salt and brown sugar into a large bowl and give them a good mix together. Rub in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the oats and give them a bit of a rub again to mix well. The mixture should stay quite crumbly.

Put half of the crumbs into the prepared pan and press it down evenly. Spread the cooked date mixture evenly over top of it, then sprinkle the remaining crumbs evenly over top. Press them down very lightly to even them out.

Bake in the heated oven for 25 minutes, until set and lightly browned. Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cook before cutting into squares to serve.

Bon Appetit!


  1. Love this and look amazing!
    We love dates Marie !!
    <3 <3 <3

  2. Date squares=Faves here.
    I have always started w/ tap boiling to start..will try!

    1. My sister adds a bit of grated orange zest to the dates Monique! These old family recipes, we do like to make them our own don't we? xo

  3. So yummy! I adore date squares but seldom make them.... I dare not trust myself with them in the house! They're nice with desiccated coconut in the oats as well.

    1. They are pretty dangerous to have around Noelle! I agree! Coconut sounds like a nice addition! xo

  4. Wow I haven't seen these since I was a teenager! I'm sure they were made by someone in the family at gatherings! I'll save this for later and hope to make them sometime, thanks Marie! PS. why has your blog/website changed it's look? Personally I like the other better; are you doing some maintenance?

    1. Hi Mary, I accidentally tried a new look on thinking I could go back, only to discover that I didn' t know how to put it back to how it was. I was very distressed to say the least, but have gotten somewhat used to it now. I miss the old page and always will though. I hope you do make the squares. They are great! xoxo


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