Being from the east coast of Canada, I am no stranger to traditional date squares. They are common place at social gatherings, especially amongst the older crowd. My grandmother made date squares for a lot of different occasions – church gatherings, seniors socials, baby showers, funerals. The squares have a crumbly top with a thick paste of sweet dates in the middle and a sugar filled bottom. Don’t get me wrong, they are delicious, but they are also loaded with sugar, and not really a food I would recommend for a quick pick me up. A lot of sugar is setting you up for an energy crash, which isn’t ideal when you are likely already tired from growing a tiny human.
I whipped these up the other day and Henry can’t eat enough of them. He gets so excited when John asks him if he wants one of mama’s date squares. I have to hide the container of them to avoid having him constantly “ask” (he doesn’t speak much yet, but has a convincing pointer finger) to have some. Commonly, he gets one for “bed lunch” (i.e. snack before bed). It’s a big treat for him and I love that I know exactly what is in them and that all of the ingredients are good for him.
Made with only 6 ingredients, these squares are sweetened by the dates and a little coconut. They are packed with protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, as well as some good fat. They would be perfect for a breastfeeding mother who needs an easy, quick snack for grabbing between feedings, or for a pregnant woman who needs to up her protein and energy levels. And if you don’t fall into either of those categories, I assure you they are a great 3pm snack with you are trying to avoid the office sweets!
Let me know if you give these a try and what you think of them!
Healthy Date Squares
Makes one 9 x 9 inch pan
Prep time: 20 mins
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 ½ cup dates, pitted and chopped
- 3 TBSP dried unsweetened coconut
- 2 TBSP hemp hearts (for sprinkling)
- Using a high-powered food processor, add almonds and scrape down the sides until a paste forms, about 5 mins.
- Add the pumpkin seeds, cranberries, dates and coconut to the almonds.
- Blend until fully combined, about 5 mins.
- Press the mixture into a lined 9 x 9 inch pan.
- Sprinkle with hemp hearts and press them down slightly so they stick.
- Cover and refridgerate for about 1 hour.
- Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.