I have a sweet tooth that cannot often be kept under control and these date squares are the answer to it. I need a sweet fix almost daily and in the last decade or so, I’ve come to realise that I don’t need actual sugar to keep my sweet tooth quiet. I simply need, crave and love sweet things! So I am always looking for ways to get my sweetness on without resorting to sugar, chocolate or actual sweets. I will afford myself some Lindt chocolate on the odd occasion, but usually I can do without it if I have something yummy in my fridge.
I’ve always loved date squares and I used to make them with piles of sugar and butter. I know people who even make them with condensed milk, which kind of defeats the whole purpose of using dates. Dates have so much natural sweetness that you don’t need to add anything else, making them a prime ingredient in a lot of my sweet treats. They’re also 100% vegan, which is a great way to make sweet things for those who don’t use animal products.
These are not actually sugar free and they’re not vegan either, because I adore the crunchiness of biscuits in them. You can use sugar free, vegan biscuits for that extra crunch, but I used tennis biscuits. I think they are called coconut biscuits in some countries and are often used to make a biscuit crust for desserts and tarts. Here is my recipe. You can adapt and tweak to suit, but try and keep it as dry as possible or the squares won’t actually set and you’ll end up with date mush, which I believe is not so great.
- 2 cups of pitted dates, chopped
- 3/4 cup of cashew nuts
- 1/2 cup of raw oats
- 1/2 packet tennis biscuits, broken into pieces
- 1/2 cup of desiccated coconut
- Splash of water
- Chop the dates and remove any lurking pits. Often in pitted dates there are one or two that go amiss and you don’t want to crunch your teeth down on one of those!
- Chop the cashew nuts too
- Place dates in a saucepan to soften but be careful not to burn them. Add a splash of water to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pan, this will quickly evaporate
- Stir in your oats, cashew nuts and desiccated coconut
- Stir through before adding the chopped tennis biscuits
At this stage, the mixture should be very sticky and fairly “dry” (as dry as softened dates can be) and should all be collecting around the spoon in a big chunk of date mix. If it’s still moist (I hate that word) then add some more oats and coconut to soak it up a little bit. You could also add more biscuits if you’ve got some left in the packet.
Once you have the desired consistency, press the entire mixture into a pyrex dish with your fingers. Try and make it even across the top and compressed as much as possible. Pop it into the fridge for a few hours and then take it out and cut into slices and then squares. I keep the entire mixture cut up in the dish, in the fridge and simply go and help myself to a few when I need a sweet fix.