Carrés aux dates, French for date squares, are a French Canadian staple. Every mom in town makes them and every French Canadian kid grew up eating them. They are delightful and you can adapt the filling to the seasons. Date squares are the perfect Holiday treat. You can serve them at your next party or bring them to a potluck. They are so festive!
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• 2 cups Fruit Bliss® dates, chopped
• 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon Non-GMO corn starch
• 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350˚. In a small bowl, mix the 2 tablespoons water and the corn starch. Set aside. Bring one 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 (we 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!