This date and oat slice consist of a delicious date filling sandwiched between a scrumptious oatmeal shortbread base and oat crumble topping.
What is a Date and Oat Slice?
A date and oat slice is simply a date-filled oatmeal shortbread crumble bar. Meaning that a cooked date filling is sandwiched between an oatmeal shortbread base and an oat-shortbread crumble.
These are also known as date squares, date bars, or could even be called date cookie bars or matrimonial cakes in Ohio. They originated in Canada in the 1920s.
This recipe in particular is a riff on my Jam Squares recipes, keeping the original Canadian recipe in mind, with a few changes to the shortbread to create an oatmeal shortbread and of course, using a homemade cooked date mixture instead of ready-made jam.
I did consider just using my no-bake date slice as the date filling but decided it would probably be too firm, and opted for a simpler, less sweet filling that would be date-forward.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- This is a really easy recipe that comes together with a few ingredients.
- This is an egg-free recipe, as the biscuit or cookie base is a shortbread.
- The buttery and oaty shortbread base really compliments the naturally sweet dates.
Here are some notes on the ingredients used in this recipe. Please see the recipe card for quantities.
Butter adds flavor, softness, and moisture and sometimes aids in the leavening of baked goods. I use New Zealand butter in my recipes, which has approximately 82% butterfat and can be very yellow (similar to European or Irish butter). Butter cannot be substituted with butter or margarine spreads, but it can be substituted with baking margarine. Butter is a key ingredient in the oatmeal shortbread base and crumble.
Salt is a crucial ingredient in all baked goods. I use table salt in all my recipes. One teaspoon of table salt equals 1.5 teaspoons of Morton Kosher Salt equals 2 teaspoons of Diamond Crystal.
Flour - plain, standard grade, or all-purpose flour is what this recipe calls for.
Icing Sugar or Powdered Sugar adds sweetness with the added starches giving the biscuit a tender snap.
Plain white or caster sugar gives a crispness to this biscuit that is otherwise completely lost with just using icing sugar.
Vanilla adds a nice dimension of flavor to the buttery shortbread base.
Rolled oats to add that delicious oaty flavor to this date oat slice. I have not tested quick or instant oats for this recipe. Quick oats will work just fine if they are not flavored or sweetened. Instant oats (unsweetened or unflavored) may result in a drier shortbread base.
Dates - I used pitted dates straight from the baking section. These are usually more cost-effective than the dates in the fruit and veg section. You can use whatever variety of dates you wish to use.
Lemon juice to add some tang and cut the sweetness a little bit of the date filling,
Room Temperature Ingredients
Use room-temperature ingredients! Using room temperature ingredients ensures that ingredients in the batter or dough will incorporate easier. Take note that room temperature refers to around 20°C/68F.
- To bring butter to room temperature quickly, cut the butter into cubes and zap it in the microwave at 20% power in 10-second intervals. Or place the cubes in a bowl over warm water (such as with a double boiler) over low heat for 1 minute!
- If the butter is too warm/soft for baking - pop it into the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
Weighing & Measuring Ingredients
Weighing ingredients with a kitchen scale is more accurate than using measuring cups. All my recipes are developed and tested using grams only.
However, I have activated the metric-to-cup conversions. Simply click on "cups" or "metric" for your preferred measurements. For these conversions, cups are equal to 240 millilitres/8 fluid ounces, tablespoons are 15 milliliters and teaspoons are 5mL.
Step 1 - Preheat the oven to 180°C/355°F. Grease and line a 9"x9" (23cm x 23cm) square cake tin with a baking paper overhang.
Step 2 - Combine the dates, water, sugar, salt, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat (10-15 minutes) until the date mixture is thick and the dates have absorbed all the water. Set aside and allow to cool.
Step 3 - Combine the butter, icing sugar, white sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Beat together until the butter and sugars are well incorporated, light, and fluffy and the butter has lightened in color.
Step 4 - Add in the flour, oats, and salt. Mix to form a soft pliable dough.
Step 5 - Press ½ to ⅔ of the dough into the bottom of the prepared tin. Use the back of a cup measurer or offset spatula to really press the dough into the pan. Prick the dough with a fork throughout and bake for 15 minutes until the biscuit base is a nice light golden brown.
Step 6 - Pour the date mixture over the shortbread base and smooth out using the back of the spoon, or an offset spatula.
Step 7 - Crumble the leftover biscuit dough over the top of the date mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Step 8 - Remove from the heat. Allow to cool in the tin for 30 minutes before lifting it out and allowing it to cool on a cooling rack completely.
Step 9 - Once the slice has cooled completely, slice it into 20-25 squares. Serve and enjoy.
Expert Tips for this Recipe
Ovens & Air Fryers
The temperatures stated are for conventional ovens. For convection, fan-forced, fan-assisted, or air-fryers, the temperature must be reduced by 20°C/25°F.
For baking, make sure the oven is fully preheated, and that the rack is in the middle of the oven. Open the oven as little as possible. For best baking results use an oven thermometer.
Remember that all ovens work slightly differently and bake times may need to be adjusted for your specific oven.
Metal bakeware (if you can, choose light-colored bakeware for an even better bake) is superior when it comes to baking biscuits, cookies, brownies, muffins and quick bread, scones, cakes. These heat up and cool down faster than glassware. Glassware is heavier, heats up and cools down slower than metal, and is more suited for bread puddings, pies, crisps, crumbles, and cobblers.
Storage and Freezing
Store this date and oat slice in an airtight container for up to a week. Or freeze for up to 3 months.
The date oat slice can be frozen for up to 3 months and brought to room temperature before serving. Before freezing, make sure to slice into the desired portions. Wrap each slice separately in cling film or plastic wrap and then with foil. Alternatively, the slices can be stored in an airtight container, placing a layer of baking paper between the slices to stop them from sticking to each other.
Date and Oat Slice FAQ
I used a 9"x9" or 23cm x 23cm square cake tin for this particular recipe.
Any dates you can pick up, I usually buy dates in the baking section.
Yes! The slices or squares can be wrapped and frozen individually, or in an airtight container separated by pieces of baking paper, for up to 3 months.
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Date and Oat Slice
- 9x9 Inch (23x23cm) Square Cake Pan
- 240 grams dates chopped
- 236 mL water
- 2 tablespoon white granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- 225 grams butter
- 60 grams icing sugar
- 100 grams white granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 270 grams plain flour
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- 150 grams oats (rolled)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/355°F. Grease and line a 9"x9" (23cm x 23cm) square cake tin with a baking paper overhang.
- Combine the dates, water, sugar, salt, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat (10-15 minutes) until the date mixture is thick and the dates have absorbed all the water. Set aside and allow to cool.240 grams dates, 236 mL water, 2 tablespoon white granulated sugar, 2 tablespoon lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon table salt
- Combine the butter, icing sugar, white sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Beat together until the butter and sugars are well incorporated, light, and fluffy and the butter has lightened in color.225 grams butter, 60 grams icing sugar, 100 grams white granulated sugar, 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add in the flour, oats, and salt. Mix to form a soft pliable dough.270 grams plain flour, ½ teaspoon table salt, 150 grams oats
- Press ½ to ⅔ of the dough into the bottom of the prepared tin. Use the back of a cup measurer or offset spatula to really press the dough into the pan. Prick the dough with a fork throughout and bake for 15 minutes until the biscuit base is a nice light golden brown.
- Pour the date mixture over the shortbread base and smooth out using the back of the spoon, or an offset spatula.
- Crumble the leftover biscuit dough over the top of the date mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
- Remove from the heat. Allow to cool in the tin for 30 minutes before lifting it out and allowing it to cool on a cooling rack completely.
- Once the slice has cooled completely, slice it into 20-25 squares. Serve and enjoy.
Nutrition information is an estimate. If scaling the recipe remember to scale your cook and bakeware accordingly. All temperatures stated are conventional, unless otherwise stated. Recipes tested in grams and at sea level.