Whew! That’s quite the handle, hey?
My last post, the Jungle Monkey Love Cake? I made that for a dessert when I went over to have dinner with some friends a couple of weeks ago. Well, unbeknownst to me, my friend had some pretty serious dietary restrictions. She is both a diabetic and a celiac, so she didn’t get to eat said cake, but her partner sure did enjoy it.
But I felt bad. I don’t like my friends to have to go dessert-less. And I do love a challenge. Throw dietary restrictions at me, and dare me to come up with something tasty, and I will do it.
Enter the humble date square. Simple ingredients, simple prep, but oh so sweet and tasty. This recipe is adapted from a couple that I found, both raw. I chose to cook mine, but you don’t need to. I like the kiss of golden brown on the crumble topping.
- 2 cups walnuts
- 2 cups oats (gluten-free if you are making these for someone with celiac)
- 1/2 cup vegan butter (like Earth Balance) or coconut oil. If you’re not vegan, use butter.
- 2 tsps cinnamon
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- two packages of dates (375 g each)
- one orange
- 1/4-1/2 cup water
- Put the walnuts and oats in a food processor, and slowly turn up the volume until you are processing them on high. You don’t need it to be a fine flour, but you want it to be fairly crumb-like. Add in the cinnamon.
- Turn the motor to slow, and add the maple syrup. Melt the butter, and add slowly through the feeding chute.
- The mixture should be clinging together. Divide into thirds, two thirds will be you bottom crust.
- Line an 8″x8″ square pan with parchment, and press the mixture into the bottom of the pan.
- Unwrap the dates and cut them into chunks in a medium sauce pan. Zest the orange and add it to the dates, then cut it in half and add the juice to the mixture as well. Add a 1/4 c of water, and turn the pan on low to medium heat. Let the whole mixture melt together, adding more water if necessary. I usually employ a potato masher to get everything good and squished up and working together. Your final result should be a thickish paste.
- Spread the filling layer on top of your base, and top with the leftover base, but don’t pack it down as hard as the bottom layer.
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown.
UPDATE: from the gluten-free diabetic: “Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! They are most delicious!”