Desserts/ Squares

Date Squares

Date Squares

Date squares. Date cake. Date bars. Matrimonial squares. Matrimonial cake.

What do YOU call these? (Apparently the “matrimonial” term is just a Western Canada thing…who knew?)

I’m probably one of 10 people under the age of 70 who like date squares. My husband is the second person. These have become his new favorite, replacing brownies and chocolate chip cookies…something I never dreamed would happen.

I think date squares are a very big misconception. People think a) they’re old people food and b) they’re dry. If you think either of those things, I can tell you right now: you have never had a GOOD date square. Because believe me, there are good date squares and then there are bad date squares.

My Mama made the best date squares, and I convinced all my friends to like date squares when I was nice enough to share my coveted treat at recess. Both of our recipes come from the classic Company’s Coming Best Squares cookbook. My Mom has always made changes to her version, and on my first attempt to make them, I was trying to contact her to find out what the changes were. I knew she reduced the sugar and I thought she added ground almonds to the crust. Alas, I couldn’t reach her because she was on a beach in Mexico (that bum!), so I just went ahead. As it turns out, she does not add almonds, but it was so darn good with the addition that I’ve stuck with it ever since.

Don’t worry too much about whether your dates are chopped small enough or not….they soften so much that it becomes a paste.

 Recipe adapted from Company’s Coming Best Squares cookbook.

Date Squares

Yield: 16 squares

  • 1½ cups quick rolled oats
  • 1⅓ cups all purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup chopped almonds (optional)
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1½ cups chopped pitted dates
  • ⅔ cup water
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8x8 inch square pan and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, almonds, brown sugar, butter, baking soda and salt. Mix until crumbly. Press ½ of the mixture into the prepared pan, set aside remaining oat mixture.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine dates, water and granulated sugar. Bring to a boil on medium. Reduce heat to medium low. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 to 10 minutes, until dates are softened and water is almost evaporated.
  4. Spread filling evenly over crust. Sprinkle remaining oat mixture evenly over top. Press down gently.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until golden brown


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  • Reply
    May 14, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    I also LOVE matrimonial squares and grew up with a heavenly version. My mother always added a mashed banana to the dates and often added coconut to the crumbs. Sooo good. I’ll have to try the almonds.

  • Reply
    Jane Harris
    May 29, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Sounds so delicious! What kind/type of dates do you use – the chopped kind in a box?

    • Reply
      Jacquelyn Bauer
      June 2, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      Hi Jane!

      The last time I made them I had some pitted Parnoosh dates. You could use any that are pitted…the only difference may be in the sweetness levels. Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    November 9, 2013 at 6:39 am

    Will you tell us what change your Mom makes to the recipe, please?

    • Reply
      Jacquelyn Bauer
      November 9, 2013 at 7:28 pm

      Hi Connie,

      She only reduces the sugar in the recipe. I thought she added ground almonds as well, but nope. They taste pretty yummy though!

  • Reply
    February 8, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    Only in Western Canada?? My mom’s original Purity cookbook from Southern Ontario, 1932, lists Matrimonial cake. It is almost the same recipe as yours except there were no almonds. :-)

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