Lavender Scented Date Squares

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Now I get why date squares are also called matrimonial cake. While I have often reached for them at wedding or baby showers, I’ve never made them. It occurred to me that dates and lavender would like each other, and that I might actually have everything on hand to make them. Except a recipe. I looked in all my cookbooks, from the Moosewood to the New Basics, and still couldn’t find one. I was about to turn to the ‘Net when I realized it was sitting in front of me, in the Mennonite Treasury of Recipes, circa 1962. This treasured cookbook was given to me by my Mother in-law, who in turn, received it from her Mother in-law. It’s matrimonial all right! It’s marked with notes, tips and passages and I love reading it. One of the things I’ve learned about being a Mennonite by marriage is Mennonite women can bake (and cook, including men!). There is a great website and cookbook Mennonite Girls Can Cook. Time spent with our family in Manitoba is as much about the food as it is the company–something this girl can appreciate. For the most part I followed the recipe from the Mennonite Treasury of Recipes, with just a couple modifications. – bvox

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Lavender Scented Date Squares
Base and topping
1 3/4 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. lavender, crushed
Zest of 1 orange (Mennonite recipe calls for lemon)
1 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all ingredients together, then add melted butter and stir until crumbly. Press half of the base mixture in the bottom of a 8 x 8 cake pan. Put cooled date filling on top, then crumble the remainder of mixture on top of the date filling and press slightly. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden and bubbly around edges. Allow to cool before cutting into squares.

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Date Filling
2 cups finely chopped dates
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp orange marmalade
1/2 tsp. lavender, crushed
1/2 tsp vanilla
Juice of 1 orange and 2 meyer lemons (it’s what I had on hand)
enough water to cover dates (one recipe in the cookbook calls for coffee)

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Cool before spreading on base.

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4 thoughts on “Lavender Scented Date Squares

  1. frugalfeeding April 17, 2012 at 12:54 am Reply

    I adore dates – so delicious, particularly once cooked. these are clearly triangles though 😀

    • Shiny Tomato April 17, 2012 at 3:20 pm Reply

      Date Triangles aren’t as catchy, eh?!

  2. Steph McVox April 17, 2012 at 7:59 am Reply

    These look tea party worthy!

    • Shiny Tomato April 17, 2012 at 3:22 pm Reply

      Oh yes, great idea! We should kick up a notch, how about lemon basil date bars

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