Some stories of finding your favourite food can be quite romantic. One summer my husband and I were traveling around England by car. One of our stops was Lake District where we spent a few days. It was raining heavily the whole time we were there. People were finding shelters in cafes and restaurants and it was pretty chaotic to drive around the lakes because of all the rain.
There was a huge line at the restaurant where we wanted to get away from the rain. We waited to get a table and just before we gave up we saw a small shop where one could buy a snack to go. We bought some food that looked tasty to us and off we ran to our car trying to not get too wet. In the car we immediately opened our lunch bag and started eating. One bar tasted heavenly to both of us. I looked at it very carefully and already had a pretty good idea how it was made.
After our trip I searched for more info on what this sweet was. I discovered that it’s of Canadian origin and called a matrimonial cake. This dessert has 3 layers: oat crust, medjool date filling and oat crumble. I added some almond butter to all three layers so that it gets more depth in its flavour. The original squares that we fell in love with were made with a thick layer of date filling. Because of that I use a lot of filling in my recipe.
Date Squares (V, GF)
- 720 g medjool dates soaked in hot water for 10 min
- 54 g (3 tbsp) almond butter softened
- 3/4 tsp vanilla powder
- heaped 1/3 tsp salt
Crust and crumble:
- 240 g gluten free oat flour
- 160 g gluten free oats
- 2 tsp Ceylon cinnamon powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 80 g (4 1/2 tbsp) almond butter melted
- 180 ml (12 tbsp) coconut oil melted
- 67.5 ml (4 1/2 tbsp) maple syrup
- Remove seeds from medjool dates and put them into a larger bowl.
- Pour boiling water over medjool dates and let them stand for about 10 min.
- After 10 min mash medjool dates with the back of a fork, discarding the water in which they were soaking.
- Put mashed medjool dates into a bowl.
- If your almond butter is not runny, soften it over low heat. Add almond butter, vanilla powder and salt to the mashed medjool dates. Mix together.
Crust and crumble:
- If you're making your own oat flour, grind 240 grams of oats in the food processor. Transfer it into a large bowl.
- Add to the same bowl 160 grams of oats, then cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Mix together.
- Melt almond butter and coconut oil together in the same pot over low heat. Remove from the heat and add maple syrup. Pour the wet ingredients over oats. Mix well together.
- Take 2/3 of the oat mixture (I measure precisely in grams) and transfer it into the baking dish (I used 20×20 cm) with removable bottom and lined with parchment paper. Press the crust hard with your fingers to the bottom of the baking dish.
- Put date filling over the crust and spread it evenly around with a spoon.
- Sprinkle the rest 1/3 of the oat mixture on top of the filling. Tap gently with your fingers and press the crumble into the filling.
- Bake at 180 °C for 20-25 min.
- After that time take it out and leave to cool on the rack.
- When it has cooled enough to handle, take it out of the baking dish and cut into 9 squares.