Vegan Date Squares

You guys, is spring coming yet?

 We’ve really been feeling it lately, the heaviness of winter. The routine grey days, the crowds that followed February, and the extreme need for some sun. I feel like it has been building up for a few weeks now, so when we woke up yesterday, and the skies were clear and blue, it was like the world was saying – hey! look where you are! you are young and alive and today is here, go after it!

 Within 5 minutes I was making sandwhiches and Matt was putting the bikes in the car. We were off in search of fresh air and a little room to breathe. 11 degrees, a tour around the lake, and a much needed apres-picnic lie in the sun. So good. Soul good. We went to sleep last night with sore legs and happy hearts.

Today, another change of pace. Matt has 10 years of pay stubs and work contracts spread across the kitchen floor, groaning as he organizes but still lightly tapping his foot to Johnny Cash. I have a few things to check off my to-do list too, and outside, its grey and rainy. You can be sure that there will be a few cups of tea and some baked goods coming out of the kitchen. Slow. Calm. There are days like yesterday, and there are days like today. Thats life, ups and downs, swings and roudabouts. But when you feel it in your bones that you need change, I urge you to listen, to escape, to breathe in a different air. To restore your wild and feel that you are here, and very much alive.

 ‘There’s a rhythm in rush these days, where the lights don’t move and the colors don’t fade, leaves you empty with nothing but dreams, in a world gone shallow in a world gone lean,

 Sometimes there’s things a man cannot know, gears won’t turn and the leaves won’t grow, there’s no place to run and no gasoline, engine won’t turn and the train won’t leave,

 I will stay with you tonight, hold you close ’til the morning light, in the morning watch a new day rise, we’ll do whatever just to stay alive,

 Well the way I feel is the way I write, it isn’t like the thoughts of a man who lies, there is a truth and it’s on our side, dawn is coming, open your eyes, look into the sun as the new days rise’

– José Gonzalez, Stay Alive


VEGAN DATE SQUARES

A healthier take a a very tasty classic treat! I would like to tell you how long these little squares keep, but between the two of us and a chalet full of ski patrolers they didn’t make it past the 24hour mark. I’m thinking up to 4 days before they start to go soft, keep in a tightly sealed container. Might last longer if refrigerated. 
 
IMPORTANT: The squares need to completely cool and set for at least 4 hours or overnight (the hardest part about making them!) so plan accordingly :)


Makes 9 squares. Vegan & Gluten Free.

Ingredients

Filling

2 1/2 cups dates, pitted and chopped, slightly packed
1 cup water
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Top + Bottom Layer

1 1/4 cup walnuts, divided
1 3/4 cup rolled oats (choose certified gluten free is you’re intolerant)
1 medium ripe banana
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted + extra for greasing the pan
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C and  lightly oil an 8 inch/ 20cm square baking dish (or line with parchment)

Add dates, water and lemon juice to a small pot and bring to a boil, add baking soda and let simmer for another 5 minutes or so, stirring often, until the dates are soft and reduced to a purée. Set aside and let cool

In a small food processor or blender, pulse 1 cup of walnuts until you get a fine meal/flour like consistency.

Mash the banana in a medium bowl, add the walnut flour, rolled oats, brown rice syrup, coconut oil and baking powder and combine. The mixture should be crumbly but wet, and stick together when pressed into the palm of your hand.

Press 3/4 of the the oat walnut mix into the bottom of the baking dish, keeping your hands a bit wet helps it from sticking too much. Then spread it over with the date mélange.

Chop the remaning 1/4 cup of walnuts, and add to the leftover oat mix. Crumble it over the dates.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the top is brown and golden. Let cool and set for at least 4 hours or over night. Cut into 9 squares.


Let me in on your kitchen creations – tag your photos #happyheartedkitchen and share the love!

4 Comments

  • Reply
    Melissa @ Nourish By Melissa
    February 22, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    Oh my gosh! I loooove date squares! So glad to see a healthy version, can’t wait to give it a try :D

  • Reply
    Jodi Kay
    February 23, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Thanks Melissa! If you try them let me know what you think :)

  • Reply
    Cheri Savory Spoon
    February 24, 2014 at 12:06 am

    Hi Jodi, these look really good, wondering if I could substitute molasses or maple syrup instead of the rice syrup? thanks!

    • Reply
      Jodi Kay
      February 24, 2014 at 6:21 am

      Hi Cheri! I magine you either one would work, however molasses/maple syrup is quite a bit sweeter than brown rice syrup, so I would start with only a few tablespoons, and add slowly until the crumble comes together. If you give it a go let me know :) J x

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