Date Nut Squares

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Date Nut Squares

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Published prior to 2008

Reminiscent of the crumbly-crusted date-nut squares you'd find in a New England bakery, this version of an old favorite adds some autumn-type spices to the crust.

1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour, traditional or white whole wlheat
1/2 cup (3 1/4 ounces) packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon apple pie spice OR a combination of 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) cold unsalted butter
2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) pitted dried dates
1/2 cup (4 ounces) boiling water
1/4 cup (1 7/8 ounces) packed light brown sugar
1 cup (4 ounces) toasted walnuts*

* Toasting the walnuts before using them brings out a nutty essence. Toast nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes -- just until you can start to smell them; let cool before using.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan.

Combine the flours, sugar, apple pie spice, and salt. Stir to mix well. Cut the butter into pieces and blend it into the dry ingredients, using your fingertips or a pastry blender; the mixture will be crumbly. Pour 2/3 of this into the prepared pan and pat down.

Soften dates in the boiling water. Add the sugar and process in a blender or food processor until pur*ed. Add the walnuts. Spread the filling on top of the crust. Sprinkle the reserved crust on top of the filling. Bake for about 30 minutes. The top should be lightly browned. Cool completely and cut into 20 squares.

Nutrition information per serving (1 square, 50 g): 181 cal, 8 g fat, 2 g protein, 17 g complex carbohydrates, 8 g sugar, 2 g dietary fiber, 13 mg cholesterol, 20 mg sodium, 190 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 27 mg calcium, 43 mg phosphorus.

This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. III, No. 8, September-October 1992 issue.


  • 12/22/2014
  • Roxy from Palo Alto, CA
  • Very good! I don't like things too sweet, so I took a previous commenter's advice, and did not pack down the sugar for the crust. I also did not add ANY sugar to the date filling, and used pecans instead of walnuts. When they were still a little warm, I tasted them and worried that they weren't sweet enough. But when they had cooled, they were just right. I didn't rate these because I made so many changes, but if I did, these would get 4 stars. I can't understand how this recipe got one star, (and I guess we'll never know).
  • star rating 02/11/2013
  • r2rn1 from KAF Community
  • These were an amazing hit at our event! They were healthy and made your body feel good when eating them. Great recipe!!
  • star rating 10/09/2009
  • xma from
  • This turned out better than I expected. My only reason for not giving it 5 stars is that it was way too sweet--I didn't even follow the prescribed amounts of sugar by not packing the brown sugar used for the date mixture. Even then, I couldn't even finish a bar by myself, it was that sweet. I would recommend not packing the sugar in the cookie dough, and probably cutting the sugar in the date mixture down to maybe 2 tbsp; I'm sure the kind of dates you use would make a lot of difference, but dates are already sweet by themselves. I also didn't put lemon zest since I didn't have any lemons in the house when I made it.
    The great thing about recipes is you can make them to fit your needs. Some bakers trust them explicitly, while others use recipes as a springboard to their own creations. The good news is that either way, the Recipe Police won't come calling! Irene @ KAF