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Newfoundland Date Squares are a traditional Newfoundland treat!  Slightly sweet, with a crumbly topping, and a soft, chewy center, perfect for an afternoon snack with a cup of hot tea!

Date Squares and Newfoundland go hand in hand – that’s why these Newfoundland Date Squares are one of my favourite crumb-type squares.  I have to tell you though, my memories of Date Squares are all wrong!  

1

Have you ever had those moments when you are sure you remember something accurately and vividly, but then it turns out that you were wrong all the while?  My memory played a vicious trick on me with dates.  

2

My mom is not well and I thought it would be nice to bake some treats for her to bring along to our visit a few weekends back.  One of the things I made was a Date Walnut Loaf.  Well, I was casually speaking with her on the phone and I mentioned I had made the loaf and I was bringing it to her.  She asked me not to do so, because – get this! – she can’t stand the taste of dates!!!

3

My childhood memories of my mom making Date Squares were obliterated!  I swear, Dear Reader, I can remember the Date Squares she used to make and I was sure she loved to eat them just as much as I did.  I guess I was wrong.  Now I’m left wondering where the hell I got Date Squares from when I was a kid, because I know I ate a lot of them!

5

Half of the Date Walnut Loaf is still in the freezer.  And the Date Squares are quickly disappearing.  I packaged up a bunch to give to one of our favourite cat sitters, Louise, and the rest we’ve been eating ourselves.  I even got McKenna to try one after she argued that she didn’t like dates.  Well, she was wrong – she loved it!  John.e is a fan of Date Squares, so I guess I can say I made them for him.  

6

If you are the type to screw up your nose at Date Squares, I urge you to give them a try.  These Date Squares a so moist, with just the right amount of sweet.  I love the fact that the base of the square holds together quite firmly, while the crumb topping is exactly that – crumbly!  The filling is quite rich and has a creamy consistency.  

4

A Date Square with a hot coffee is just the type of afternoon treat I look forward to… in fact, I think that’s just what I’ll do right now.  Why don’t you come and join me?

7

 

(This post was written prior to my mom’s passing in November.  I’m just getting around to posting it now.  In her memory, I’m leaving the post as is.)

Newfoundland Date Squares

Course: Dessert
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 16 squares
Author: Lord Byron's Kitchen
Newfoundland Date Squares are a traditional Newfoundland treat! Slightly sweet, with a crumbly topping, and a soft, chewy center, perfect for an afternoon snack with a cup of hot tea!
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Ingredients

Ingredients for the date filling

  • 2 1/4 cups pitted dates, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • tablespoons vanilla
  • 2 cups boiling water

Ingredients for the base and crumb topping

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened dried coconut
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cups butter

Instructions

  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and preparing a 9x13 inch baking dish by lining it with parchment paper.
  2. In a saucepan, add the filling ingredients and bring to a low simmer. Simmer, stirring often, for about 20 minutes, or until the mixture becomes very thick. Watch the mixture carefully as it will burn easily in the last few minutes of cooking time. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add all of the crumble ingredients and use your hands to rub the butter into the dry ingredients. The mixture for form a crumbly topping.
  4. Press half of the crumb topping into the prepared 9x13 baking dish. Press firmly to form a solid base for the date mixture.
  5. Pour the date mixture over top and spread it out evenly.
  6. Next, evenly distribute the remaining crumb mixture over top, pressing very lightly to push the crumb mixture gently into the date mixture.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes. Allow the Date Squares to cool completely before cutting.

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This Post Has 52 Comments

  1. Funny how our memory can play tricks on us! I've actually never had a date square but I do have a fairly recent love of dates. I especially enjoy stuffing them with peanut butter and then dipping them in chocolate for a slightly less sinful treat. I gotta try these!
  2. Is this where I admit that I just Googled "newfoundland" because I had ZERO idea where it is? (Shame on me! I'm sorry Canada!!!) Also, I didn't know there were people in the world who didn't like dates. I've also never heard of date squares, but I'd totally finish these off for you! Let me in your freezer! haha
    1. And were you not pleasantly surprised when you read about Newfoundland? It's paradise, I tell you. :) You're welcome to invade my freezer anytime! :)
  3. Byron, my heart felt condolences on the passing of your mother. My experience is that besides the obvious pain and mourning, the loss of a parent leaves a huge hole in our own histories. The shared memories, ability to get answers to missing pieces, verification of dates and events.....disappear. Perhaps, your mother filled her date squares with something other than dates? Perhaps, her tastes changed over time? Regardless of possible answers, the fact remains that date squares are a sweet reminder of your childhood. Food is wonderful that way! Personally, I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't love a bar filled with dates and topped with streusel crumbs!
    1. Thank you, Wendy. I talked to my dad about my conversation with her and he cannot remember if she like dates or not. It's going to remain a mystery, it seems. :)
  4. Sorry to hear about your Mom! For some reason dates remind me of my Mom also. I was never a big fan of dates and haven't had any in ages. But these date squares definitely have my attention and look like something I would love to try!
  5. Did you think your mom's memory is a little off? She could have liked the bars then and now she doesn't. Your date squared look delicious and I would love a piece with my afternoon coffee. A nice pick-me-up to look forward to. And I really like dates!! Thanks for sharing.
  6. So sorry for your loss. I've lost both parents, and it leaves a void without them. The date squares look incredibly delicious! My mom used to make some kind of mini date squares for the holidays, and I loved them.
  7. Byron, I am very sorry for your loss. I lost my mother a year back and that is a void that I feel every minute of my life. Coming to the date squares, I started reading the post thinking I will not be liking this as I am not a big fan of dates. But reading through the recipe and especially the crumb part, I am beginning to change my opinion and I want to give it a try. I will keep you posted on it turns out.
  8. I love crumbly desserts. It's one of my favorites... You are 100% right. This crumb deliciousness goes perfectly with afternoon tea or coffee. I tried lots of different crumb desserts but never with dates. Pinning this and saving to try. PS I'm so sorry for your lost :/
  9. We make date bars in the Philippines during Christmas time and only during this time which I find kind of strange. After seeing your scrumptious date squares, I have decided that making date bars should be a year-round activity! I agree, this must go perfectly well with coffee!!
    1. My family has many of those traditions about baking a certain item only at Christmastime, but life is too short to have date squares once a year. :)
  10. Lol, isn't it so funny when we think we know something so well but are so terribly wrong? I will happily take the other half of the date loaf you have stashed in the freezer because I LOVE dates. I also LOVE the crumb topping on these date squares. I simply cannot wait to make these and devour the whole pan!
  11. These date squares different than the normal ones with crunchy crumb topping. I can eat a few in sitting. You changed my opinion about the date bars now.
  12. I haven't had date squares in AGES but I'm definitely craving them now. They weren't really something I had as a kid - because my family wasn't too big on baking - but I ADORE dates so I can't believe I've never made them before. Also, LOL at memories playing tricks on you. For a long time I swore I was allergic to pineapple because I vividly remember getting sick after eating them as a kid. Luckily, my mother disabused me of that notion and I've been enjoying pineapple ever since ?
  13. I love this tribute to your mother, and I love that you left the post as is. If you ever figure out who you got the date squares from, please let us know! These look so tasty, and I bet they are delicious!
    1. Thank you, Leah. I thought long and hard about re-writing it, but I decided to leave it the way it was. :)
  14. I used to think I wasn't a fan of dates. My grandmother used to make date scones (not the kind of scone you are thinking of - the british kind). I thought she was ruining a good thing by adding them. As I got older though, I have come to appreciate them - they add a great sweetness! Ever had a date shake? There's a town here in AZ called Dateland.... most people stop and grab a shake on their way to California. The crumble on top of these squares is GORGEOUS. If you have too much stuff - I'll PM you my address. I accept deliveries ;)
    1. I think we all stayed away from dates as kids. They are not the most attractive things to look at. :) I'll be in Florida in a few weeks - meet me there! :)
  15. I LOVE date squares! My Dad used to bring them home from a bakery when I was a kid...those, and date filled shortbread cookies. Oh my mouth is watering at the thought of either! It is rare to find date anything anymore. All I find is fig, which if fine, but cannot even begin to compare to date filled pastries! I cannot wait to give this a try. So happy I stumbled upon it while looking for Valentine treats. I'll make this treat for myself. After all, it's important to be good to yourself once in a while...even if it happens to be Valentine's Day. ;) Thanks for sharing!
    1. You're most welcome, APG! These Date Squares are the absolute best, in my opinion. I'm sure you'll love them!
  16. Thanks for posting. I grew up in Canada and I loved when my mom made date bars, they were my favorite. She passed away in January and I want to make some of these for my kids to try.
  17. I grew up on Canada's west coast and my Mom made date bars often but she called them matrimonial bars. The one difference between yours is the addition of coconut, but I'm looking forward to trying them . Loosing a mother is hard...my thoughts are with you.
  18. My Mom used to make date squares and my sister and I kept on with the tradition. We are a large family of date square lovers! Our recipe does not have coconut in it. I’m wondering if I iliminate the coconut, do I have to add or do anything different with the crumble? I love coconut but so many don’t. Also, very sorry to hear about your Mom. Mine died in 2007 so I know how painful it can be. :(
  19. My deepest condolences on your mom. I just lost my momma and I haven't figured out how to cope yet. She would have loved these date bars. We all liked them!!
    1. Thank you, LisaMarie. Unfortunately, I don't think there is a coping mechanism. Just keep thinking of the good times and it'll get easier. :)
  20. My condolences for the loss of your mom, reading about it really hit me hard, as i lost my mom when i was 11 years old. Memories are funny things as i have been craving date squares and my first memory of eating them was with my mom after church as a young child. Im looking forward to trying your recipie 😊 also decided to subscribe!
  21. So sorry for your loss. Your story is a lovely tribute to your mother. My immediate thought was that she made them for you because you loved them, not because she did. I am the mother of 4 sons, all grown now, so I speak from experience. My mother (almost 90 now) loves date squares and made them often when my 5 siblings and I were growing up on the east coast of Canada. I have never had them with coconut before, but I have heard them called Matrimonial Squares by friends from western Canada. Shopping with my mum just this weekend she happened to mention a craving for date squares. I have all the ingredients ready to go and then found your recipe. I'm going to try the addition of coconut and when I share the squares with my mum, I will share your story as well. Thanks for the lovely story and the recipe.

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