Sunday, September 18, 2011

Apple Date Squares

We went on our annual apple-picking adventure yesterday with Heather and Bap, along with their kids and Heather's mom. Heather's mom said to me as we were heading into the orchard "didn't we go strawberry picking together last time I was in town?" (she's visiting from Halifax). Which made me chuckle. Yes, I have a slight obsession with fresh-fruit picking in the summer...

Though we've been going on our own for years, as the only coupleless child at the entire orchard, apple-picking is getting more fun as Logan gets older. I just can't wait until he's old enough to put to work to help with the picking ;)

Logan, on his first apple-picking adventure, last year.
And somehow, this year, he's
old enough to eat an apple...
I used to pick a couple of big bags of apples, turn them all into homemade apple sauce and can them for the winter months. But with Logan racing around the house, baby no. 2 on the way in just 6 short weeks and Logan's 'big boy room' not yet painted and decorated, I've had to come to the realization that this will not be in my future this year (though I'll probably still make the odd batch to eat fresh, as there's nothing better than homemade applesauce for dessert!).

But I've nonetheless already started working on the 20 lb. bag of apples we picked yesterday. We are probably going apple picking again with some other friends early October, so I figure we'd better eat through these ones quickly.

This recipe is a minor, but tasty, twist on the classic date square. And I absolutely love date squares. I was inspired to make these by some delicious looking apple date squares that they sold at the apple orchard we visited. Though they looked more delicious than they actually were. I told Jerome that I was sure I could make a better version myself at home, and these are it.

I took the base of this recipe from Cook Great Food, because I love their date square recipe (which they call Matrimonial Cake). I then took the filling from the BC tree fruits website recipe for apple date squares.

1 1/2 C all-purpose flour (I used whole-wheat)
1 1/2 C oats (I used large flake)
1 C lightly packed brown sugar (I used 3/4 C and would try 1/2 C next time)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 C butter or margarine (butter gives it better flavour)

1 1/2 C pitted dates
3/4 C water
2 apples, peeled and coarsely grated (I used 3 apples and left the skins on for the extra fiber)

In a medium saucepan, combine the dates and water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and mash dates.  Remove the heat and stir in apples.

In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar and baking soda. Cut in butter with pastry blender or in food processor until mixture is crumbly.

Press half of the crumb mixture into nonstick or lightly greased 8x8 inch square pan. Top with the apple-date mix. Cover with the remaining flour mixture. Pat down.

Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees Farenheit. Cool and cut into squares.

If you've also gone apple-picking and are looking for apple recipes, you might be interested in some of the following:

finnish apple pancake for breakfast (I intend to whip up one of these later today to make for tomorrow's breakfast):

date and apple sweet bread (this is delicious!):

apple cream cheese pie (also gonna make this before we run out of apples):

fiber-full bran pancakes with little pieces of chopped up apples inside:

apple cake/muffins:

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