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The Yankee Express

Date nut squares are a healthier and heartier treat


Date nut squares have gone in and out of popularity for decades. Many people, including myself, enjoyed them as children. But they’re not a treat that’s made or thought of, even, often.  
However, nostalgia can make baking more interesting. And date nut squares are among the healthier and heartier treats that people can bake. So, if you haven’t made them in years, or you’ve never made them before, this is a great time to do so.
These squares are healthier than a lot of baked goods because in addition to having less unhealthy fats and added sugar, they’re packed with healthy ingredients. Oats are heart healthy.  Cinnamon has antioxidant properties. Cardamom, which is a source of vitamin c, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium and potassium, has anti-inflammatory properties and can protect against oxidative stress that causes various health conditions. And almonds and walnuts are both heart-healthy and brain-healthy nuts.
Dates are brimming with minerals and nutrients. They’re good sources of potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, calcium and vitamin B6. They’re also rich in fiber and high in antioxidants, which makes them heart healthy. The tropical fruit may also promote brain and bone health, and it may help to prevent various diseases.  

Date Nut Squares

2 Cups of Quick or Old-Fashioned Oats
1 ¼ Cups of All-Purpose Flour
½ Teaspoon of Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
½ Cup of Brown Sugar
1 Very Ripe Mashed Banana
½ Cup of Light Olive Oil 
Date Nut Filling Ingredients:
2 Cups of Pitted Dates
1/3 Cup of Almonds/Walnuts
2 Tablespoons of Brown Sugar
½ Teaspoon of Cinnamon
½ Teaspoon of Ground Cardamom 
1 Teaspoon of Almond Extract

Soak the dates in a covered bowl of hot water for about 20 minutes.  
Drain the water, and combine the dates with the other filling ingredients until a paste-like filling is formed. Set it aside.
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. 
In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and brown sugar.
In a separate bowl, combine olive oil and the banana, and cut it into the mixture until it’s one crumbly, moistened mixture.
Press about 4 Cups of the crumbly mixture into a greased 9X9 pan.
Spread date nut filling evenly over mixture, leaving about ¼ inch border all around.
Sprinkle the remaining crumbly mixture evenly over the filling.  
Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Then, let it cool completely before cutting it into 16 squares. 

  Whether or not date nut squares make a comeback this year, they’re a good healthy treat to bake any time. Happy (healthier) baking!