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Newfoundland Date Crumbles

Newfoundland Date Crumbles (or Date Squares). A recipe every local family knows and loves. The secret is having the right proportion of butter in the crumble and this recipe gets it just right.

The Best Newfoundland Date Crumbles Recipe featured image

The Best Newfoundland Date Crumbles

Not just Nanny Hynes’ favourite square, another universal Newfoundland treat common to almost every family cookbook is Newfoundland Date Crumbles.

There are many recipes out there for these popular squares but this is the best recipe I have ever used.

Old fashioned date crumbles 2007 photo with on checkered tablecloth

Date Crumbles was one of the first recipes ever posted on Rock Recipes back in 2007

The secret to a good crumble is the proper amount of butter in the recipe. Many recipes use too little, resulting in a dry end product where the crumble doesn’t hold together properly.

I’ve seen them so dry you could blow the crumble like dust off the top of the square. Not my idea of a great crumble.

The Best Newfoundland Date Crumbles Recipe image with coffee

The Best Newfoundland Date Crumbles

The other vital component in Newfoundland Date Crumbles is the filling. Opinions and tastes vary. My wife is partial to lots of filling. I am middle of the road when it comes to this topic.

We both agree though, that the thin, near non-existent layer of filling that some commercial bakeries try to pass off as a proper date crumble these days is really unacceptable. Try this recipe and you’ll easily see the difference.

Old Fashioned Date Crumbles photo with title text added for Pinterest

Looking for more Newfoundland-inspired cuisine?

For other favourite Newfoundland recipes please make a look at our Newfoundland Food Pages. You may also want to check out our entire collection of Newfoundland Favourite Cookie Recipes.

Favourite Newfoundland Cookies with textLike this Date Crumbles recipe?

Be sure to browse the photo index of over 200 cookies and cookie bar recipe is in our expansive Cookies Category.

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The Best Newfoundland Date Crumbles

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The Best Newfoundland Date Crumbles Recipe featured image
Yield: 36 cookie squares

Newfoundland Date Crumbles

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Newfoundland Date Squares or Date Crumbles is a recipe every local family knows and loves. The secret is having the right proportion of butter in the crumble and this recipe gets it just right.

Ingredients

For the filling

  • 18 ounces dates, chopped (about 4 cups) See note below.
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 2 cups boiling water

For the crumble

  • 2 cups rolled oats, large(not quick oats)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened dried coconut, fine or medium cut
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cups butter, cut in small cubes

Instructions

For the filling

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking pan and line with parchment paper if you want.
  2. As noted in the recipe description, some people prefer these date squares with less filling so you can reduce the amounts in the filling by 1/4, 1/3 or even 1/2 if you prefer.
  3. In a medium saucepan combine and gently simmer until thickened (about 10-15 minutes).
  4. The filling should be very thick; you will need to watch it carefully and stir constantly in the last few minutes of cooking time.
  5. Set aside to cool slightly while you prepare the crumble mixture.

To prepare the crumble

  1. In a large bowl, toss together the rolled oats, baking powder, coconut, flour and brown sugar.
  2. Using your hands, rub the butter thoroughly through the dry ingredients.
  3. Divide crumble mixture in half and press half into the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
  4. Spread date mixture over the base.
  5. Top with remaining crumb mixture, pressing it together in clumps in your hands and then breaking it into small pieces with your fingers to scatter evenly over the date filling.
  6. Press down lightly.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees F.
  8. This is a very good basic recipe but I have also had very good variations of date crumbles over the years.
  9. Orange Date Crumbles: Substitute orange juice for the water in the filling and add the zest of a medium orange.
  10. Cocoa Date Crumbles: Add 4 tbsp cocoa to the filling.
  11. Hazelnut or Almond Date Crumbles: Prepare filling as usual. Add ½ cup ground Almonds or Hazelnuts plus 1 tsp cinnamon and ½ tsp nutmeg to the crumble.

Notes

UPDATE: I do sometimes make the crumble in a food processor just to speed up the preparation time. However, I do not add the oatmeal to the processor. I take a minute or two to rub it trough the other ingredients once they come out of the food processor. This keeps the whole oats intact.

Recommended Products

Rock Recipes a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Our product recommendations are almost exclusively for those we currently use or have used in the past.

Nutrition Information

Yield

36

Serving Size

36 cookie squares

Amount Per Serving Calories 203Saturated Fat 6gCholesterol 22mgSodium 79mgCarbohydrates 26gFiber 2gSugar 16gProtein 1g
Newfoundland Raisin Buns - a decade's old recipe like Nan made.
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Mollie

Sunday 20th of December 2020

I love these date squares! I was just wondering if you ever tried freezing them? I would like to make them for Christmas and maybe keep them in the freezer

Heather

Sunday 6th of December 2020

Date squares are my dads favourite for sure and trying to master them like his mom and sisters have. Do you suggest fresh or dried dates?

Date Squares - a Homemade Recipe That's a Canadian Classic

Wednesday 2nd of December 2020

[…] Also known as Newfoundland Date Crumbles, we love this truly Canadian Recipe from Barry at Rock Recipes! […]

Sarah Doyle

Monday 30th of November 2020

Perfectly delicious! Thank you from two Newfies in Ontario 😊

Just Another Panic(ked) Monday – Kicky Boots

Monday 16th of November 2020

[…] Date squares. They were ok. I wanted a really rich, buttery crumb on top and this was decent. It would have been better if I hadn’t forgotten the OATS! I blame my quarantine brain. Turns out it takes up a lot of mental space to wrap your head around a pandemic. […]

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