I think I can comfortably say that crumble topping is one of my favourite foods. I have a zip-lock bag in my freezer for when the emergency strikes. I also must specify that I love it raw and cooked. Nothing beats butter covered in oats, sugar, cinnamon and the occasional toasted nut. Sometimes I bake things simply so I can satisfy my crumble fix. Of course the filling is delicious, whatever it may be, but we all know what the best part really is. We can all attest to standing at the counter, nibbling at the loose little clumps of <<insert baked good here>> until we realize said snack has suffered from premature balding.
As the title indicates, these aren’t your Momma’s date squares. With sour cherries, warming rum and zingy orange juice, these are a complex update from the mono-flavoured store-bought impersonators. I also have to note the photo above: Canadian winters make for speedy cooking cool downs and almost immediate consumption; which is a very important thing when one lusts for their square fix. Don’t be fooled, these will have balding patches, but there may also be clumps of robust date filling missing as well. It’s at this point you just cut yourself another square.
Not Your Momma’s Date Squares
Roughly adapted from Harrowsmith Cookbook
Makes 18-24 1” squares
- 2 cups pitted dates
- 1 cup dried cherries
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- splash of rum
- splash of vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups oats
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup wheat germ
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter*
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- pinch of salt
- In a medium sized pot, add all ingredients and heat through until liquid is absorbed and fruit is soft + mushy.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350˚.
- Grease 9″x 9″ or 8″ x 11.5″ pan.
- Whisk together oats, flour, wheat germ, sugar, soda, cinnamon, + salt.
- Add butter + stir until pea sized clumps form.
- Press 1/2 – 2/3 of crumble mixture into bottom of pan, patting into place.
- Spoon cooled filling overtop of crust and gently spread filling into an even layer with dampened fingers.
- Sprinkle remaining crumble mixture overtop (I had extra in my fridge and added that too)
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until toasty and crust has set.
*For butter, you can use room temperature softened butter, melted, melted/browned or hard-from-the-fridge butter. Browned butter yields the most flavour, from the fridge is easiest if you don’t have room temperature butter. It’s up to you! All options yield tasty (and crumbly!) results.