These date squares are super easy to make and totally addictive! Healthy and rich in flavour they are a great pre-work out snack, or to serve alongside a nice cup of tea. I modified this recipe from the Quinoa 365 cookbook – one of the top cookbook sellers in Canada last year, and for good reason – the possibilities with quinoa are endlessly delicious! I’ve been trying to go gluten & refined sugar-free since the beginning of the year, so I found wheat free rolled oats and replaced the sugar with brown rice syrup. I’ve read that brown rice syrup is one of the best sugar alternatives to bake with, and even though it’s still processed, the syrup has a low glycemic index and absorbs easily into the bloodstream leaving less for fat accumulation. For this reason, these date squares are a great pre-work out snack. Along with the energy benefits from the brown rice syrup and dates, quinoa is one of the top ten muscle-building foods and its complex carbohydrates also provide energy and endurance. I also used brown rice flour because I thought it would work better with the brown rice syrup, and I replaced the butter with coconut oil which made the squares a bit creamier in texture and enhanced the sweetness a bit as well. Cut these squares small as they are quite dense.
2 cups chopped, pitted dates
3/4 cup boiling water
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup quinoa flour
1 cup brown rice flour
2 1/4 cup gluten free large flake rolled oats
1 cup brown rice syrup
pinch of salt
1 cup coconut oil, melted
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the dates and boiling water. Stir until the water has been absorbed and the dates are smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Set aside.
Combine the flours, oats, syrup, salt and coconut oil to make a crumbly but moist mixture. Divide into 2 portions and press one half firmly into the pan to make a base. Spread the date mixture evenly on top. Add the remaining crumb mixture to the top by taking small bits and placing on top of the dates. Do not try to spread over the dates. Lightly press down the top layer evenly with your hands. Bake on the center oven rack for 25 minutes until lightly brown. Remove from the oven and allow to completely cool in the pan. Cut into 20 squares. Store in the fridge in a sealed container for up to one week or freeze up to two months. The squares are best served at room temperature.