You won’t believe they’re vegan!
Date squares (or cares aux dates in French) are a French Canadian staple. Every mom in town makes them, and all French Canadian kids grew up with them. Needless to say they are delightful. When I owned my small catering business in Chicago, they were one of my fastest selling item. The beauty of these date squares is that you can swap the filling according to the seasons. When rhubarb is in, change the filling for some rhubarb compote. In the summer, the blueberry squares became very popular. Back then, the date squares were not vegan, but people were asking for vegan items. And that is how I decided to veganize the traditional French Canadian recipe. Oh and I think it is safe to disclose that Oprah herself had some of my date squares!
- 2 cups dates, pitted and chopped
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix the 2 tablespoons water and the corn starch. Set aside. Bring the 1 cup of water and the brown sugar to a low boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium, add the dates and the corn starch mixture. Keep simmering until the mixture thickens, about 6-8 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the vanilla extract. Mix well.
- 1 1/4 cup old fashioned oatmeal
- 1 cup butter substitute (I like Earth Balance)
- 1 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 cup brown sugar
Beat the butter into a cream. Add in the brown sugar, the flour, the baking soda, the salt, and the oatmeal, and mix well. Spread half of the mixture at the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish lined with parchment paper. Compact well. Add the date mixture on top, and top with the rest of the oatmeal mixture (do not press down on the top as you want it to look like a fluffy crumble). Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden on top. Let cool on a rack for about an hour. Cut in squares and eat them all! Bon appétit!