Date squares have a long tradition in our family. I shared our recipe, modified slightly as a Cranberry-Date Square, shortly after I began blogging. (One of my first missions was to preserve our favourite family recipes). Even to this day, my brother still requests this. Just last month, when I heard he was hoarding the date squares, I thought out loud to my mom: “Wait, that should be really easy to veganize. No, really.”
Sure enough, while reading through Emily’s latest cookbook, 100 Best Juices, Smoothies and Healthy Snacks, I just knew I had to try out her no-bake date squares. With only 5 ingredients, and no oven, she has recreated a fabulous spin on the classic date squares. Rolled oats and buttery pecans substitute for the traditional butter and white flour. Dates sweeten and help towards the architecture of the snack with a touch of coconut oil adding in for texture and stability. I was impressed that the date layer was so smooth and luscious. I think I may try adding in a touch of lemon juice next time (like our original recipe) to see if that helps to balance the sweetness. While not traditional, I also wonder whether a touch of cinnamon would work nicely. In any case, Emily’s rendition was spot on and encourage you to try it out.
Her “Dare to Date Squares” comes from her cookbook which also has 99 other recipes for juices, smoothies, mylks and snacks (which she calls energy bars & healthy snacks). It, however, is not a raw cookbook although it is entirely vegan. As an example, she includes creative savoury soups with cooked vegetables as spicy carrot smoothie with bell peppers and creamy onion and potato smoothie. It would be best to have a juicer for the juice section although the smoothies simply require a blender. Personally, I was drawn to her snack chapter, which I wish was a bit longer. Considering her success of her first dessert cookbook (I shared her tahini cups with a sweet coffee-infused filling previously), I can see how she may not have wanted to pursue that direction in as much detail. Her photos are gorgeous (see top photo) and her easy-going nature encourages you to try new recipes. My only gripe were some missing details, like the size of pan to use in a recipe. However, most recipes are so simple you just need the ingredient list.
Emily’s recipes from 100 Best Juices, Smoothies and Healthy Snacks spotted elsewhere:
Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to giveaway the cookbook to a reader living in the United States or Canada. To be entered in the random draw for the book, please leave a comment below telling me about your favourite beverage. The winner will be selected at random on December 12, 2014. Good luck!
Dare to Date Squares
Reprinted, with permission, from 100 Best Juices, Smoothies and Healthy Snacks
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup pecans
1 cup pitted dates
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 cups pitted dates
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
1/2 cup water, as needed
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup pecans
1 tbsp coconut oil
pinch Himalayan salt
1. To make the base, process the oats and pecans into a flour in a food processor, then add the rest of the ingredients and process until it begins to stick together. (Janet’s note: If your dates are on the dry side, you may need to add some water, a tbsp at a time until it comes together). Press into the bottom of a lined baking pan (Janet’s note: my pan was 9″x9″) and put it in the fridge.
2. To make the middle, put all the ingredients in your food processor and blend until smooth, adding water as needed in 1 tablespoon (15 mL) amounts to make it creamy, but keeping it thick enough so that it holds its shape. Spread evenly onto your base and put back in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
3. To make the topping, pulse all the ingredients in your food processor until they become a crumble-like consistency. Sprinkle evenly on top of the middle layer and press down lightly. Let the
recipedessert sit in the fridge overnight so it can set and develop more flavour. Slice and enjoy!
Makes 16 squares.