I know we’ve already done some truly decadent date squares at Ali Does It, but I wanted to do another one to emphasize how truly great dates are. They’re so underrated. And in date squares? My, my, my. Date squares always seem like some kind of old people food when you’re just looking at them, but then you bite into that crumbly, sticky, gooey-ness and you remember that they’re just pretty much amazeballs, regardless of how old you are.
I was making these for that shindig business that’s coming along and I sent the Pie out to buy dates – I wanted the ones in a block, not the ones I would have to pit and chop up. Because I’m lazy. And the Pie, knowing my penchant for doubling and tripling every recipe, picked up the biggest block of dates he could find. IT’S A KILOGRAM. A whole kilogram of dates. So here’s what I came up with in order to deal with a KILOGRAM of dates.
Start with your kilogram of dates. Unwrap them from the triple-wrapped wrapping craziness. I guess they’re pretty sticky if you let ’em.
Then slice your block up a bit.
Chuck that in a pot with 3 cups water. Bring that to a boil and then simmer it for like 10 minutes.
It’s gonna be all squidgy and icky and gross. Take that off the heat and let it cool slightly. Zest and juice 2 oranges.
Tip the juice, as well as 2 teaspoons ground cardamom and 4 teaspoons vanilla, into your date goo. Give it a stir.
If you want, shove it in a food processor. I like my dates to be smooth but I’ll leave that up to you.
And buzz it until it’s all super sludge.
Now preheat the oven to 350°F and butter and line some baking dishes with parchment paper.
While that’s heating up, whisk together 3 cups flour, 3 cups oats, 2 cups brown sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and that orange zest you have on hand.
Cube up 2 cups room temperature butter and dump that in the flour. Mix it in with your hands until it’s all crumbly and you want to eat it.
Scoop half that mixture into the bottoms of the dishes and press it down.
Scoop the date mix into the dishes as well and smooth it over.
Add the rest of the oat mixture to the top and press it down slightly.
Shove those into the oven for 45 minutes, until everything is golden brown.
Let those cool slightly in the dish, on a rack, and then lift them out to cool completely on the rack before cutting into eatable-sized squares. I won’t judge you on the size of said squares. Whatever works for you!