Date Pecan Oatmeal Squares

Date squares, often known as matrimonial squares, have been a classic for decades, but the oatmeal crust often contains a cup or more of butter or vegetable shortening. My version only uses 1/3 cup of oil, yet it’s incredibly delicious and rich tasting. Dates are an excellent source of energy and carbohydrates, as well as protein and iron. Eat them in moderation, because their nutrients and calories are concentrated. I buy my pitted dates at a bulk food store and keep them in the freezer. To chop dried fruits, I use scissors, which is easier than a knife.

RECIPE INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking oil.

2. Combine the dates, granulated sugar and orange juice in a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the dates are soft and the liquid is absorbed. Mash the mixture and let it cool.

3. Stir the orange zest, oats, flour, brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon, oil and water in a bowl until combined. Pat half of the mixture onto the bottom of the prepared dish. Spread the date mixture overtop. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture on top of the dates.

4. Bake in the center of the oven for 25 minutes, or until the squares are golden.

5. Cool to room temperature on a rack before slicing and serving.

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups chopped pitted dates (8 oz)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup orange juice
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 1/4 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water

NOTES
Nutritional Analysis per Serving

Calories 280
Protein 3.2 g
Fat 8.5 g
Saturated Fat 0.6 g
Carbohydrates 48 g
Cholesterol 0g
Fiber 2.8 g

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Make Ahead: Store at room temperature for up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 2 weeks.

Serves 12

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