Simple, old fashioned date squares.
2 1/2 cups dates, pitted (lightly packed)
1 cup water
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cups oats
1 cup flour
3/4 cup + 2 table spoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup butter
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Line a 8-inch square baking dish with a strip of parchment paper, letting it hang over both sides. Butter the other two sides.
2. In a pan, combine the dates, water, lemon juice and 2 tbs brown sugar. Bring to a boil.
3. Add the baking soda. it will react to the acidity of the lemon juice and foam up. Keep stirring the whole thing.
4.Keep cooking the mix over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. The dates will fall apart and turn into paste.
Set aside to cool.
5. In a bowl, combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, and baking powder.
6. Cut the butter into chunks and add to the bowl. The butter needs to be soft but not melted.
7. With a pasty cutter (or your fingers if you don’t have one, like I did) combine the butter to the dry ingredients until no big chunks of butter remain nor any loose flour.
8. Press half of the toppings mixture at the bottom of the mold. Try not to leave any gaps.
9. Spread the date mixture over that base. try to even it out as best you can. You don’t want it to be too hot so it doesn’t melt the butter.
10. Gently press the remaining crumble mix on top. Don’t press to hard, you don’t want the date mix to overflow. But try to get it compacted some so it gets crunchy.
11. Bake on the center rack for 40-50 minutes until the crumble is a nice uniform golden color.
12. Allow to cool. This will likely take a few hours, up to overnight. If you can, let the whole thing cool on a mesh rack (like for cookies) so the bottom cools at the same rate and doesn’t get mushy.
Once cool, turn over on a cutting board and remove the parchment paper.
13. Cut into squares according to your preference. I like smaller ones, so I got 25 out of this recipe.
14. And enjoy!