Old Fashioned Date and Nut Bars

These old recipes have been passed down for generations for a reason,  they are GOOD!   I used to make these all the time when I was a little girl but I hadn't made them in years.  They are now my families new favorites.  My daughter took 3/4 of these to work and she said they were gone in seconds.               
The ingredients:

    For the Date Filling:
  • 1 lb chopped dates 
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1 cup coconut
  • For the Crust:
  • 1 3/4 cups oatmeal
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted

To Make the Filling:
Boil dates, sugar, and water until thick, about 5-10 minutes. Add the butter, vanilla, walnuts and coconut and mix thoroughly.
Set aside to cool a bit. 

I like to toast my nuts in a cast iron pan.

Add the butter.

Mix in the nuts.

Add the coconut.

Mix thoroughly and let it cool a bit.

Prepare the crust:
Combine the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the melted butter and mix until thoroughly combined.
Firmly press half of the mixture into a lightly greased 13 x 9 pan.
Cover with filling mixture.
Top with remaining half of crust mixture. Press lightly.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes; watch carefully and do not overbake.

After you place 1/2 of the crust mixture in the pan, lay a piece of waxed paper over it and press down.

Top with the date filling. Sprinkle with remaining oat mix and press down.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes.

To chop your dates easily, place them in the bowl of your food processor along with the sugar.  Pulse until you reach the desired consistency.  The sugar keeps the dates from sticking.

Let these cool thoroughly before slicing.  You can even chill them in your fridge if you want to speed it up.
These might not look like much but they pack an incredible flavor punch.


Anonymous said…
these are a favorite in our house too!
Here they are called Matrimonial squares and were always on the desert table at weddings., They were served at my grandmothers wedding about a 100 years ago.
Anonymous said…
They do look yummy! I guess I really should try to make them :-)

Have a great day!

Guillaume said…
My parents used to make dates bars too. A recipe very similar to this one, except without the coconut. I must confess, I was never a big fan, especially since I was always afraid I might get a stone eating it. My mum told me it was really nice warm with ice cream on the side. For a dessert, it is very healthy, maybe one of the reasons why I was never a big fan. But I'd try one with coconuts.
I just love date squares (no walnuts or coconut please)! Or, as date squares are called here on the prairies by old timers, "matrimonial cake." It's because in the Great Depression, often the only fruit that was readily available was dried slabs of dates. So that's what wedding cakes were typically made of in the Dirty Thirties instead of the more traditional fruit cake.
Oh, I see Laurie knows that tradition too!
Carole said…
Great work. Hope you'll bring it over to Food on Friday over at Carole's Chatter. Cheers
That filling sounds scrumptious. This is something I would make during the Christmas holidays. But a bite of one of those right now would be perfect. GREAT recipe.
linda said…
I love date squares and can't wait to make them!! Thanks for posting the pictures and recipe.
Edgar said…
Love date squares and made these over the weekend they turned out perfectly!! Thanks for the recipe!!
Kay said…
I'm always salivating when I come to visit your blog.