Date squares are a lot like marriage: smooth at times and rough at others. It's no surprise then that these sweet treats are sometimes called matrimonial squares. Chef Jo's guilt-free version replaces some of the butter with apple butter for a low-fat twist on the dessert classic.
By chef Jo Lusted
Makes 18 servings
3 cups pitted Medjool dates
1 cup water
zest of 1 large navel orange
1 tsp pure vanilla
olive oil cooking spray
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup coconut, almond or whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup organic light brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup unsweetened apple butter
1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, cubed
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Prepare filling: Place dates, water and zest into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and let stand for 5 minutes, until cooled slightly. Purée in a food processor until smooth. Scrape into a mixing bowl and set aside.
- Next, prepare the crust: Spray a baking pan (8 x 11 x 2 in.) with cooking spray and set aside. Place oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into food processor. Pulse until combined. Add apple butter and butter and pulse again until combined and crumbly.
- Press half of crust mixture evenly into the bottom of the baking pan. Spread date mixture evenly over top of crust. Crumble the remaining crust evenly overtop of filling.
- Place pan into oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Once cooled, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes-1 hour to set. Cut into 18 squares and serve immediately. Squares will keep, covered and refrigerated, for 5 days.