Sunday, November 21, 2010

Date squares

     An old fashioned square, but one that I enjoy. I recently made these for my aunt Rita's @%th birthday.
Let's see, if I'm twenty nine, she can't be much more than thirty. They were a big hit so here is the recipe. Dates are also really good for you so I have included some info about them, so an almost guilt free dessert. As a matter of fact they are almost healthy.

That's Rita, with her husband Frank standing behind my grandmother.

Date Squares
Date filling                                                                           
3 cups pitted dates                                                           
1 cup water                                                                        
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract *                                 
Oatmeal Crust                                                                                            
2 cups rolled oats                                                                                      
1 cup all purpose flour                                                                                        
¾ cup light brown sugar**        
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
½ teaspoon baking soda
pinch of  cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Date filling: Cook dates in water, over medium heat, covered, until soft and the water is absorbed. Let cool slightly, add vanilla, then puree in food processor or with hand blender.
Oatmeal crust: In your food processor, combine rolled oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda and cinnamon. Pulse to combine. Add cold butter pieces and pulse until mixture is crumbly.
Press 2/3 of mixture into an 8x11 greased baking dish. Spread date mixture evenly over crust. Sprinkle remaining oatmeal mix over the top.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.

* I reduce the vanilla to ½ teaspoon , personal preference.
**I reduce the sugar to ½ cup, again personal preference.

Health benefits of dates

  • Wonderfully delicious, dates are one of the most popular fruits with an impressive list of essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals, required for normal growth, development and overall well-being.
  • Fresh date is made of soft, easily digestible flesh with simple sugars like fructose and dextrose that when eaten replenishes energy and revitalizes the body instantly; thus, for these qualities, dates are being used to breakfast during Ramadan months.
  • The fruit is rich in dietary fiber which prevents dietary LDL cholesterol absorption in the gut. It is also a good bulk laxative. The fiber content helps to protect the colon mucous membrane by decreasing exposure time and as well as binding to cancer causing chemicals in the colon.
  • Dates contain many health benefitting phytonutrients flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants known as tannins. Tannins are known to have anti-infective, anti-inflammatory and anti-hemorrhagic properties.
  • They are a good source of Vitamin-A (contains 149 IU per 100 g), which is known to have antioxidant properties and is essential for vision. Vitamin A also required maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamin A known to help to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • Also rich in antioxidant flavonoids such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants have the ability to help protect cells and other structures in the body from oxygen free radicals and are found to be protective against colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers.
  • Zeaxanthin, an important dietary carotenoid selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea where it is thought to provide antioxidant and protective light-filtering functions; thus it offers protection against age related macular degeneration in elderly individuals.
  • Dates are an excellent source of iron, contains 0.90 mg/100 g of fruits (about 11% of RDI). Iron, being a component of hemoglobin inside the red blood cells, determines the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood.
  • Also, dates are rich in potassium.   Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids that help controlling heart rate and blood pressure; thus offers protection against stroke and coronary heart diseases.
  • They are also rich in minerals like calcium, manganese, copper and magnesium. Calcium is an important mineral that is an essential constituent of bone and teeth, and required by the body for muscle contraction, blood clotting and nerve impulse conduction. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Magnesium is essential for bone growth.
  • The date fruit is rich in B-complex group of vitamins as well as vitamin K. It contains very good amounts of pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), niacin, pantothenic acid and riboflavin. These vitamins are acting as cofactors help body metabolize carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Vitamin K is essential for many coagulant factors in the blood as well as in bone metabolism.

     I hope you enjoy these as much as I do, as always, happy baking.

1 comment:

  1. Look out Llij, they are full of tannins. Great research and detail Paul!


Thanks for your comment, I hope you enjoyed your time in the "Kitchen".