for maman: date & raisin squares

When I was little, my mom had her standard dessert recipes. She made a really fantastic chocolate chip cake (always in a pretty bunt pan) for birthdays and every summer to make use of the pear bounty from our 2 trees, she made pear crisp. During the winter though, the date square ruled. It seemed healthy since it was full of oats and dates but with all that butter and sugar, this square isn’t really fooling anyone. Despite the fact that I would have rather snacked on something chocolate, I really did love my mom’s date squares. With a glass of cold milk and a crumbly still-slightly-warm square, it was the perfect treat.

My mom isn’t doing very well health-wise and she’s currently in the hospital. I wanted to do something extra special in my holiday package to my parents. Of course I packaged off my dad’s favorite cookies along with trying to recreate her date square. Despite having only half the amount of dates needed and subbing in raisins for the balance, I think I surpassed her version. My friend who ate a square thought they were the most flavourful date bars she had ever eaten and some friends of Cornelius who lucked into a couple of squares immediately wanted the recipe. So here it is. Sweet, buttery, oaty goodness. Pure and simple. I know my mom will love them.

Oh, and please stop by the Canada’s Food Network blog to read my latest post on my brunch experience at a new local neighbourhood restaurant, 2 Chefs and a Table.

24 comments to “for maman: date & raisin squares”

  1. 1
    VeggieGirl   December 21, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    I’m keeping your mom in my deepest thought and prayers – stay strong!!

  2. 2
    Bijoux   December 21, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    Oh my! Will you be going home to see your mother over the holidays? I hope she has a speedy recovery! What an unfortunate time of year to have a loved one in hospital. My mom was in hospital for surgery and subsequent treatment last winter and it was a very emotionally draining time for me! My thoughts are with you!

    I have eaten supermarket brand date squares before and was never really smitten with its heavy denseness. I bet your homemade date & raisin squares far surpass any store bought brands. I'm willing to give date squares another go!

  3. 3
    Culinary Wannabe   December 21, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    The bars look delicious. I’m sure you mom will just love them! I hope she feels better soon and is back at home for the holidays.

  4. 4
    drNO   December 21, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    just hopping by.
    your blog is just so nice. i luv to cook too…and the food here seems yummy, may be i would try making em someday.
    anyway, hope yout mum get well soon


  5. 5
    Shannon   December 22, 2008 at 5:36 am

    sorry to hear about your mom, hope she enjoys these!! I’ll keep her in my thoughs!

  6. 6
    Beth   December 22, 2008 at 6:43 am

    Oh dear. Sorry about your mom. I’m sure she’ll love the date squares – moms always love it when you remember the nice things they did for you.

    I hope even with all the added stress, you still manage to have a Merry Christmas.

  7. 7
    Dawn   December 22, 2008 at 8:00 am

    I’m sorry about your Mom. I’ll keep her and your Dad in my prayers.
    I know these raisin squares will cheer her spirits up.

  8. 8
    kickpleat   December 22, 2008 at 10:54 am

    veggiegirl, thank you so much!

    bijoux, i’ll visit next month when she gets moved into a new facility. thanks for your good thoughts, we’ll need them. as for the date squares, these rock and are way better than any store bought kind.

    thank you culinary!

    thanks dr. no!

    rach, they are wholesome and good!! thanks for the good thoughts.

    i’m sure my mom will love these, thanks ttfn300!

    beth, it’s definitely added stress, so thank you 🙂

    thanks dawn!

  9. 9
    Rach   December 22, 2008 at 2:54 am

    Those date and oat squares look wholesome and amazing. My thoughts are with your mum, hope she comes home soon.

  10. 10
    Rach   December 22, 2008 at 2:55 am

    Sorry! Date and raisin. Date and oat goes togetherin my head and also I am tired.

  11. 11
    Hayley   December 22, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Those look incredible. I bet figs would work beautifully also. Have a Happy Holiday, I’m sure these past-time treats will take some stress off your mother’s shoulders. Be Well, Hayley

  12. 12
    Carolyn Jung   December 22, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    I’ll keep your Mom in my good thoughts. I’ve been there with ill, frail parents. It’s never easy. But I will say good food still gives them much pleasure and joy through it all. I’m sure your Mom will be back on her feet in no time with treats as delicious sounding as these.

  13. 13
    Melinda Feucht   December 23, 2008 at 8:19 am

    Hi! This isn’t related to the blog entry but I have a question about Vancouver. Didn’t know how else to get a hold of you. I will be visiting Seattle for two weeks in January and was wondering what the travel restrictions are to get to Vancouver (do you need a passport?) . And also, if I DO manage to get there, what are some places (eating, shopping, job-hunting, photo opps) you suggest stopping at?

    Thanks much!

  14. 14
    kickpleat   December 23, 2008 at 11:49 am

    haley, figs would be great in this, i’m sure!

    thanks for your good thoughts, carolyn!

    melinda, i’ve got an email address in the “about me” top sidebar section on my blog. i can give you any tips and suggestions in an email! as for a passport, you won’t need one yet for january. passport regulations go into effect in june 2009.

  15. 15
    Knit - R - Done   December 23, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    Can’t wait to try them. I’m sure they’ll be good medicine.

  16. 16
    Yvonne   December 25, 2008 at 4:33 am

    I’m so sorry about your mom. ;(
    Many positive thoughts and vibes to you both!
    (I can’t wait to try making these squares.)

  17. 17
    eatme_delicious   December 28, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Ooo I bet my mom would love these too since she loves dates. I’ll have to save the recipe. Hope your mom’s healthy improves soon!

  18. 18
    Kevin   December 28, 2008 at 11:26 am

    I really like the sound of using dates in a bar like this.

  19. 19
    kickpleat   December 30, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    thanks, knit, i hope so!

    yvonne, thanks for your thoughts!

    eatme, i’m sure your mom would love these to bits. they are really great.

    kevin, dates are great in this!

  20. 20
    Stephanie   January 13, 2009 at 2:21 am

    Hi! I baked these at the weekend and absolutely loved them. Reminded me of being at my grandmother’s house in New Brunswick. 🙂

    Thanks for the recipe!

    (originally from Canada, currently living in the UK)

  21. 21
    bklynharuspex   January 19, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    These are delicious, thank you. I had all these dates to make fruit & nut bars (per Alice Medrich) and then I came to understand that I don't really care for dates. But cooked down this way they are wonderful. I made a few changes, notably adding coconut to the topping, but basically they're yours and they're great.

    I'm hoping for the best for your mother. Thanks again for the excellent, if crumby, recipe.

  22. 22
    kickpleat   January 19, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    stephanie, so glad that you loved them!

    bklynharuspex, the addition of coconut would be so good. i’ll try that out next time i make these!

  23. 23
    bklynharuspex   January 20, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    To follow up: I brought them to the office as Inauguration Bars. The base, I claimed, represented the Constitution; the cooked-down date & raisin mix was the American people, and the shot of rum, what else but our new President, giving us all a little jolt; while the crumbly topping, both sweet and hard to manage, stood for our present situation (and the coconut an extra nod to Obama's home state, Hawaii). All totally after the fact, of course, but it was fun. And they got great comments. So thanks again.

  24. 24
    Marc   October 3, 2016 at 7:54 am

    I was looking for something to house a fancy fig filling and I found this recipe on Pinterest (searching for raisin squares, I think). I made a batch last night, 1/3 with the recipe filling, 2/3 with the fancy fig filling. They were great! Thanks for posting.

    (They could be tagged “dessert sandwiches” if you want to stretch the sandwich definition a bit.)

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