Cranberry Date Squares Recipe

Cranberry Date Squares are based on an old fashioned, homemade treat that most Canadian kids grew up enjoying..

 

Cranberry Date Squares

What is a Date Square?

A date square is a simple and easy to make treat, with a date filling sandwiched between two layers of buttery oats. It’s a dessert that dates back to, at least, the nineteen-thirties, according to recipes that have been discovered.

Two cranberry date squares on a blue & white plate.

Date Squares: A Classic Canadian Treat

The origins of the date square are not really clear. This treat is, however, a familiar one to Canadians from coast to coast. In the Maritime provinces on the east coast, they call them date crumbles. And in western Canada, matrimonial cake is another name for them.

Why is it called Matrimonial Cake?

While I was unable to find the answer to why date squares are called matrimonial cake, I did come across several theories. My favourite; Two separate layers brought together with dates leads to weddings.

Cranberry date squares

Why Cranberry Date Squares?

Date Squares are a true classic, and they are delicious. So why, you may ask, do I want to mess with a good thing by adding cranberries?  Dates are dense and intensely sweet, so the cranberries balance that sweetness with a little bit of tartness in the filling.

The cranberries really add a bright and tasty element to these cranberry date squares.

About Dates

Dates are the fruit of the date palm, which is native or cultivated in many tropical areas around the world, most especially, the Middle East, where dates have been a staple food for centuries. In North America, almost all the dates that we buy are dried. The most common varieties available to us are Medjool and Deglet Noor. Learn more about dates here: The truth about dates

Are Dates a Healthy Food?

Dates are very nutritious. They’re high in fibre and antioxidants, as well as potassium, B vitamins, and minerals such as iron, magnesium, and copper. Dates are75 percent fructose, making them one of the sweetest foods in nature.

This means dates are a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth without resorting to empty-calorie treats. Those natural sugars mean that dates are perfect for sweetening recipes without using refined sugar, like these Chocolate Cranberry Hemp Energy Bars.

Matrimonial cake on a blue and white plate with a cup of coffee

Looking for More Squares?

Try another delicious oatmeal square: Rhubarb Blueberry Oatmeal Bars

Or, here’s another spin on a classic Canadian treat: Butter Tart Squares

And if a little spicy chocolate is what you’re craving: Chili Chocolate Brownies

How to Make Cranberry Date Squares

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5 from 29 votes
Cranberry Date Squares
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 

These Date Squares are a classic Canadian treat with the addition of cranberries to the sweet date filling sandwhiched between layers of buttery oat pastry.

Course: Cookies
Cuisine: Canadian
Servings: 24
Calories: 193 kcal
Author: Colleen
Ingredients
Pastry
  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats not instant
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter cold, cut into cubes
Filling
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350ยฐ

  2. Line an 8" square baking pan with parchment paper, or spray with cooking spray

  3. In a saucepan, combine dates, cranberries, lemon juice and water.

  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until thickened, stirring often, about 15 minutes, stirring often

  5. Set aside to cool

  6. In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, flour, almond flour, brown sugar, and salt

  7. With a pastry blender, cut in cubed butter, until a crumbly dough is formed

  8. Firmly press half of the dough into prepared pan

  9. Spread cooled filling evenly over the crust

  10. Sprinkle the remaining dough mixture over the filling, pressing to firm it

  11. Bake in center of oven until golden, about 45 minutes

  12. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares

Recipe Notes

I made this recipe gluten-free by using certified gluten-free oats, and a gluten-free flour blend in place of the all purpose flour.

Make this recipe vegan by substituting the butter for vegan butter, or cold coconut oil.

Nutrition Facts
Cranberry Date Squares
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 193 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 5g25%
Cholesterol 20mg7%
Sodium 95mg4%
Potassium 131mg4%
Carbohydrates 25g8%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 15g17%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 255IU5%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 27mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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63 thoughts on “Cranberry Date Squares Recipe

  1. What a great delicious looking recipe. The next time it rains I am going to whip some of these up and enjoy with a cup of tea. I can’t wait to try out this recipe, cheers!!

  2. These are soooo good. I loved the dates and cranberries together in the filling. I’ll be making them again for sure.

  3. We love this. I usually make very similar cookie squares like this with fruit preserves, but this dates and cranberries combo is definitely a keeper. ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. What a lovely combo! A treat for the tastebuds. I have some dates and cranberries laying in my fridge. Can’t wait to try this. Cheers!

  4. Date squares are a fave around here, but never had them with cranberry. What a lovely touch and so perfect for the season! Wish I had a couple right about now! They look awesome!!

  5. I love the story of the matrimonial cake! I had never heard that before.
    I also like the red cranberry filling in the date squares, especially for Christmas. My aunt makes something similar that’s very popular at potlucks.

      1. I like dates squares but sometimes they can be a little too sweet, adding some cranberries is such a great idea ! Lovely recipe!

  6. Such a delicious looking recipe and one that my children would love in their lunchbox or after school! Love that you have almond flour in with the oats, one of my favourite combinations in baking.

  7. I love to use dates as natural sweetener – like you mentioned – the empty calories. And nestled in between buttery oats sounds like the best idea ever!

  8. I LOVVVEE these! Let’s just say that I may have had a few of these squares for breakfast, and now they’re my favorite breakfast AND afternoon pick-me-up snack. Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  9. These are such perfect bars for the fall! I just love the addition of dates — adds such a nice flavor. Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. The tang of cranberries and natural sweetness of Medjool dates would balance each other so nicely – I like this idea, Colleen! And they look pretty, too. I will add this to my squares and bars collection of recipes – thanks so much for sharing.

  11. I made these and they were beautiful! I ate them with my morning tea, the kids took them to school and then had them after school too!

  12. I love that these can totally be made vegan by just using vegan butter. They look incredible! Making me want to reach in and grab one!

    1. Hi Deborah, thank you for this reminder. You can use vegan butter, or, cold coconut oil to make these vegan. I’m adding to the recipe notes. Thanks again, and enjoy!

  13. I was on the lookout for a crumble recipe that would feature something seasonal. Thank you for these! I also was not thining squares and I am pleased to try this shape rather than one single large crumble!

  14. I am from western Canada and though I don’t remember them with cranberries, I am very familiar with date squares. Love ’em, can’t get enough, and look forward to trying these with cranberry!

  15. My husband is OBSESSED with date squares!! It is probably the recipe he requests I make the most. He would be all over these!!

  16. Cranberries and dates must go so well together in these squares! They are the perfect little sweet treat which provides also good nutrition. Love to hear about the story of the date squares and the fact that they were called matrimonial cake!

    1. Thanks you two. Sometimes we are too humble about how delicious the foods that we grew up with. This one surprised me with such a great response. They really are a perfect sweet treat!

  17. What a delicious sounding treat! I bet the sweet dates are the perfect counterpart to the tart cranberries. Can’t wait to give these squares a try!

  18. I honestly and wholeheartedly love this recipe so much that I am leaving a comment to let you know it and pinning it as well. I LOVE dates. I lived in the Middle East (Dubai) for 7 years and just spent 2 months in Jordan so this is really really close to the “home” of so many sweet memories in my heart ๐Ÿ˜€

  19. I LOVE that you added cranberries to date squares – brilliant! So festive and a great way to tone down the sweetness! We also called them ‘dainties’ in Manitoba. Any square was fair game to be referred to as a dainty ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Made this over the weekend and wow! Great balance for sweetness and the texture I just loved it. Unfortunately it is all gone but will be making it again for holidays as kids loved it too which is a great bonus. Beautiful recipe ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. Yum! These cranberry date squares look like the perfect bridge between brunch treats and dessert – my favorite kind! These would be spectacular with a scoop of ice cream!

  22. These squares are so delicious, and I love how easy they are to make! The flavor combo is just perfect for the holidays. Thanks for sharing!

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