Date Squares are a favourite family "Treat" in my home. This recipe is very simple and nutritious. I freshly grind the flour, use less sweetener and plenty of dates, to make a huge, thick square that is rich and sweet, satisfying and filling. Cory says these are by far the best date squares in the world and he should know, he's the "best all round" natural date square expert!
This Date Square recipe makes a great "Munchie food" and dessert. Natural date squares can also be eaten with a protein shake to enhance post workout glycogen replenishment.
Caution: Eat at your own risk! This treat is highly addictive!.
2-500 gram (4 cups) packaged pitted dates 5 cups filtered water 3 cups organic whole wheat, spelt or kamut flour 3 cups uncooked wild oats (rolled oats) 1/3 cup sucralose (Splenda) 1 T cinnamon 1lb unsalted cultured butter (Ghee) Juice of 1 lemon
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 C) Grease 12x 9 inch baking pan approx. 2 inches deep.
2. In a heavy saucepan bring butter to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes. (See "Ghee" article).
3. In a large pot combine dates with water and bring to boil let simmer for 15 minutes until thick and mushy. Use a large wooden spoon to break down dates. Remove from heat let cool for a few minutes then add lemon juice.
4. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, oats, cinnamon, and sucralose.
5. Add butter to flour mixture and blend with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
6. Transfer ﾽ of crumb mixture to greased pan and press down evenly to form 1st layer.
7. Spread date paste evenly over bottom layer.
8. Cover evenly and pat down with remaining crumb mixture.
Bake until golden brown. Approximately 30 minutes. When you can smell the Squares they are ready.
Cool completely before cutting into 3 inch squares (7 cm). They are best eaten at room temperature. Date Squares do not need to be refrigerated if using Ghee. Cover and leave on the counter. Date Squares are great for freezing.
Sucralose (trichlorogalactosucrose) was discovered in England in 1976 and is 320-1000 times sweeter than sucrose. It is safe, approved by Health Canada, calorie free, non-nutritive, has no unpleasant aftertaste and can withstand high temperatures involved in cooking and baking without degrading or breaking down. It is currently used in dozens of brand name protein powders across Canada as an alternative to aspartame.
Sucralose is created from ordinary table sugar in a multi-step process that selectively substitutes three chlorine atoms for three hydrogen-oxygen (hydroxyl) groups in the sucrose molecule. 98% of sucralose passes out of the body without being absorbed into the bloodstream, the rest is excreted after absorption. More than one hundred studies show that it is not carcinogenic and has no negative effect on reproductive performance or the nervous system.
The Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) for sucralose is 15 mg/kg of bodyweight/day. The ADI is defined as an estimate of the amount of a food additive that can be ingested daily without appreciable health risk. ADI is a conservative level and normally reflects an amount 100 times less than the maximum level at which no adverse effect occurs in animals under close scientific observation. For more info please visit www.splenda.ca.
Fresh dates are much lower in calories than dried dates. For example, 4 oz fresh dates contain 100 calories while 4 oz dried dates contain 250 calories (less water). All dates are high in iron and potassium and contain modest amounts of folate, carotenoids and the B vitamins. Dates are beneficial for anemia, constipation and fatigue.
Varieties of Dates
The following varieties represent the most common dates on the market.
DEGLET NOOR: A semi-dry date, originally imported from Algeria, possesses a delicate flavour, and is firm-textured in appearance, with a colour range from light red to amber or straw.
HALAWY: A soft date, thick flesh, caramelly and sweet, is somewhat wrinkled in appearance, with a yellow colour ripening to a light amber and then to a golden brown. Originally this date was imported from Iraq.
KHADRAWY: A soft date originally imported from Iraq, it has many desirable qualities. It cures well, it ripens to amber, then cured to a reddish brown, with a caramel like texture and a sweet flavour.
ZAHIDI: A semi-dry date from Iraq, distinguished by its large seed in proportion to the fruit itself. This date lends itself well to processing and softening by steam hydration. This date is known for its high invert sugar level and is widely used to make diced dates and date sugar products. It features a crunchy and fibrous flesh.
HONEY: This date has the taste, color and texture of rich honey and is excellent for a quick burst of natural sugar energy.
THOORY: Often called "Bread Date". Driest date variety, with firm skin, less sticky; flesh chewiest and is the staple diet of the Nomadic tribes of the desert countries of the world.
MEDJOOL: This is the "Cadillac" of dates. The original Medjool date variety was introduced into the Coachella Valley of California from Morocco in 1927.
Dates are very versatile. They can be used in stews and salads or just eaten alone as a quick snack. They are relatively high in fiber and can be compared to a softer version of the ﾑpruneﾒ in terms of supporting efficient bowel function and elimination.
CSNA 101 Education Program, Chapter 3, Artificial Sweeteners, pp 99-104, 2001