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A stack of date squares on a cake stand.

A Classic Canadian Dessert: Old-fashioned Date Squares

  • Author: Janice Lalonde
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 15 servings 1x


Experience the timeless sweetness of classic Canadian cuisine with our Old-Fashioned Date Squares. This beloved dessert features a chewy date filling and buttery oatmeal crust perfect for satisfying any sweet tooth. Satisfy your cravings and taste the Canadian tradition today!



Date fillings:

1.5 lbs Pitted Dates

2 Tablespoons of Light brown sugar

1/8 Teaspoon of Sea salt.

1 Cup of Water

Oatmeal crust filling :

1 3/4 Cup of Quick one-minute oatmeal

1 3/4 Cup of All-purpose flour

3/4 Cup of Light brown sugar

1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Powder

1/4 Teaspoon of Baking Soda

1/2 Cup of Unsalted butter


Making the date filling – (Microwave the mixture three separate times.) 

Step 1 – Place pitted dates in a clean microwave-safe glass bowl to make a date filling. Mix well with ½ cup of water, two tablespoons of brown sugar, and a pinch of sea salt. Microwave the mixture for 3 minutes, then remove the bowl and use a potato masher to mash the date mixture into a paste-like texture.

Step 2 – Add 1/4 cup of water to the date mixture for the second round, mix well, and microwave for three more minutes. Mash the mixture again to achieve a paste-like consistency.

Step 3 – For the final step, microwave the date mixture and add 1/4 cup of water. Mix well and microwave for another 3 minutes. Once done, use a potato masher to mash the mixture until it forms a smooth and complete paste.  Set the filling aside and let it cool. 

Making the Oatmeal crust and toppings- 

Step 4 – In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients, including oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix thoroughly using a spatula.

Step 5 – Incorporate room-temperature unsalted butter into the dry mixture using a fork or pastry cutter to create a crumbly texture. Test the mixture by picking up a small amount with your hand. If it is still sandy, add one tablespoon of butter until the mixture forms a dough-like consistency.

Assemble the squares – 

Step 6 – First, preheat the oven to 350 F.  Prepare an 8×12 baking dish by lining it with parchment paper or coating it with non-stick baking spray.

Step 7 – Add half of the oatmeal mixture into the tray, spreading it evenly. Then, pack the layer tightly with your palm or the bottom of a glass, ensuring the oatmeal mixture is compacted.

Step 8 – Spread the date filling evenly on top of the oatmeal mixture layer using a spatula.

Step 9 – Using a spatula, spread the remaining oatmeal mixture on top of the date-filling layer, making sure it is evenly distributed. Press firmly with your palm or the bottom of a glass to pack the oatmeal tightly.

Step 10 – Once the oatmeal mixture and date filling are evenly layered in the baking dish, place it in a preheated oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 350F or until the top is golden brown.

Step 11 – After baking, allow the date squares to rest for at least 15 minutes to let the crust and filling settle before cutting them into small squares. Serve and enjoy with a hot cup of tea or coffee.


The recipe only requires a small amount of extra sugar due to the natural sweetness of dates, and the quantity listed has been tested to achieve the desired level of sweetness.

Add more dates for a thicker filling, but add water gradually to prevent it from getting too watery when microwaved.

Use a potato masher for an old-fashioned chunky date filling consistency instead of a food processor that may overprocess the filling.

Check the oatmeal mixture by squeezing a small amount in hand; if still sandy, add softened butter gradually until a firm dough consistency is achieved.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Canadian

Keywords: Old-fashioned, Date Squares,Classic, Canadian dessert, Matrimonial Cake, Matrimonial squares, date bars