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 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 intensly 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 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 nutritiuous. They’re high in fibre and antioxidants, as well as potassium, B vitamins, and minerals such as iron, magnesium, and copper. Dates are75 per cent fructose, making them one of the sweetest foods in nature.

Which means, dates are a great way to satifsy 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

5 from 6 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
  • 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
  1. Preheat oven to 350°

  2. Line an 8" square baking pan with parchment, 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 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.

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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12 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. 🙂

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