An old-fashioned recipe for Date Squares, or as we always called it, Matrimonial Squares. Consisting of a layer of sweet date filling, sandwiched between a crumbly chewy oatmeal crust and topping.
Date squares are a popular Canadian dessert that are always included in Holiday baking, church gatherings, and bake sales. I love making many of the old fashioned recipes my Mom and Grandma made. They always bring back such special memories!
My Dad loves date squares, so I always include them in my Holiday baking. This date bar recipe is handwritten from my Mom's old scribbler of "favorite recipes for cookies, cakes and squares".
Butter Tarts and Nanaimo bars are two other Canadian Classic dessert recipes you have got to try!
Why are Date Squares also call Matrimonial Cake?
I am not exactly sure why they are called Matrimonial cake as well as Date Squares except that years ago the cake was often cut into individual squares, covered with plastic wrap, then decoratively wrapped in small paper doilies and tied with a ribbon. These where given out to each guest at the wedding.
Ingredients you will need:
- Dates - Dried pitted dates. Any variety will work, but I love the flavor of Medjool dates.
- Oats - large flake old-fashioned. Quick cook or steel-cut will not work well in this recipe.
- Brown sugar - I use golden yellow or light brown.
- Butter - I use unsalted for baking, but if you use salted just reduce salt to ½ teaspoon.
- Flour - all-purpose white flour.
- Granulated sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
How to make Date Squares
Start by softening the chopped dates. Mix the dates, water and granulated sugar together. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 5-10 minutes until the dates have softened and the water has evaporated.
Stir the oats, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and brown sugar together.
Using a pastry blender cut the butter into the oat mixture and blend until pea-sized crumbles form.
Press half of the crumb mixture into the bottom of prepared 9 x 13 baking pan.
Spread the date mixture evenly over the crumb layer.
Sprinkle the top with the remaining crumb mixture, pressing down slightly.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. The top should be crisp and golden brown.
Enjoy more tasty square and bar recipes.
This post was originally published on April 17, 2014. Occasionally I update posts with fresh tips, content, and photos. Current update February 16, 2021.
Date Squares- Matrimonial Bars
- 3 cups oats large flake
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 2 cups butter room temperature
- 1 pound dates chopped
- 1 ⅓ cups water
- ¾ cups granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grease 9x13 pan or line with parchment paper.
- Using a heavy saucepan, mix together chopped dates, water, and granulated sugar.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for approximately 5-10 minutes until dates have softened and water has evaporated . Let the mixture cool.
- In a large bowl combine the oats, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and brown sugar.
- Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the oat mixture. Mix just until pea-sized clumps form.
- Spread half of the crumb mixture into bottom of greased baking pan. Press down.
- Next spread the date mixture evenly over the crumb layer.
- Top with the remaining crumb mix, pressing down slightly.
- Bake 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. The top should crisp and golden brown.
- Cut into squares.
This is a favorite of mine, I got the recipe from my great gram king, it reminds me of tea with her.
I love all those old time recipes from Gramma!
My mom used to make these too - I loved them as much as chocolate (which is saying A LOT) I'm thrilled to find this recipe! Thank you thank you thank you!
So glad you found my recipe so you can now make your own. I actually never liked them as a kid, but now I love them!
Did you use instant oatmeal or whole
Definitely use whole slow cook variety not instant
Love Matrimonial Cake, as we always called it.
I grew up at Melfort, SK no far to your home town so a lot of our traditions will be similar.
Helen, that is what my family always called it as well. I recently moved back to Saskatchewan after 40 years. Back to my home town of Humboldt.