Paleo Date Squares – A Break From The Whole30 (sort of…)
So I successfully completed my second Whole30® challenge…
In fact, it has been officially over for 3 days now, but I’m still going at it. I guess I’m feeling so good and fantastic, I just don’t wanna stop. Plus, I thoroughly enjoy sharing my every meals on Instagram!
Initially, I figured I would keep going at least until the end of the week, but now, I’m considering extending this through the entire month of August and join the whole bunch of people that are taking the August Whole30 Challenge.
There’s only one slight problem, though. The baker in me is really, seriously itching to bake a cake. Not sure I can go another WHOLE month without baking!
Plus, I sort of told one of my readers that I would try and come up with a healthy cake recipe for their upcoming birthday, which would be next week…
What to do, what to do?
If I baked a cake that was entirely Whole30® compliant, would I automatically get “kicked out” of the program? Would it mean I failed on the challenge? I mean, I know SWYPO is not at all encouraged, but is it completely, totally ruled out? Banned? Outlawed?
Oh, how badly this girl itches to bake that cake, it’s not even funny! I even got all the ingredients and stuff. I don’t even really want to eat the cake, I just want to bake it!
But there’s no such thing as baking without tasting, you know.
Of course, I guess I could always put it off for another month. Which means Camille would have to wait for that cake all the way until her next birthday, and I sincerely feel bad about this! But I’m also really wanting to extend my Whole30®.
Guess I need to think some more, but I better make a decision soon: the week-end is coming fast!
Hey, maybe if I shared one of my pre-challenge recipes with you, one that I created all the way back in June when I was last hit with an unbearable urge to bake somethin’ good, then maybe it would help me curb this new attack.
And so I give you: Paleo Date Squares! Entirely Grain, Gluten, Dairy AND Refined Sugar Free.
A word of warning though!
While they are made with nothing but Whole30® approved ingredients, I wouldn’t even DREAM of indulging in one of these babies during a Whole30®.
Trust me, SWYPO just doesn’t get any SWYPOer than this.
These date squares, they mean serious business. They’re not at all your typical super moist and soft date squares. No way. These guys, they have a lot of substance to them. They are firm, very firm. I would even dare say, solid! When your teeth sink into one of these puppies, they will be faced with some serious resistance. Now, I’m not saying they’re hard as a rock, but they have the firm consistency of say, a really thick graham crust?
Now something HAS to be said about that!
As for the flavor, it’s absolutely dreamy, heavenly good. The [not so] subtle notes of orange really take the filling to the next level, while the coconut blends in perfectly well and gives a whole new dimension to this classic treat. The crust has such a rich buttery flavor to it, you’d swear it contains loads and loads of the stuff. But of course, there’s none whatsoever. Not even a teaspoon.
Honestly? These were the best date squares I’ve ever eaten.
Not at all typical, but amazingly good still!
This is one recipe that I will most definitely be making over and over again, when I’m NOT doing a Whole30® that is.
And to all of you people who CAN have these right now (you lucky human beings you) I strongly suggest that you go right ahead and make some now.
Then have a bite for me, will you please?
Paleo Date Squares
- 1.1 lb pitted dates
- The juice and zest of 1 orange, about ½ cup
- The juice of 1 lime, 2 tbsp
- 1 cup water
- ½ tsp vanilla powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp Himalayan salt
CRISP (TOP AND BOTTOM LAYERS)
- 1½ cup sliced blanched almonds
- 1 cup toasted unswseetened coconut flakes
- 1¼ cup coconut flour
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- Pinch cream of tartar
- ¼ tsp Himalayan salt
- ¾ cup coconut oil, chilled
- Combine all the ingredients for the date mixture in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the liquid has fully evaporated and you’re left with a creamy, mushy and smooth, heavenly date mixture. Set aside to cool.
- In the bowl of your food processor, combine all the ingredients for the top and bottom layers.
- Process on pulse until the mixture is well combined, no more. Refrigerate this crisp mixture for 15-20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Press a little more than half the mixture at the bottom of an 8” square baking pan that’s been lined with parchment paper. Place that in the oven and blind bake for 8-10 minutes until the crust starts to turn slightly golden brown.
- Remove from the oven, spread the date mixture as evenly as you can over the bottom layer then loosely crumble the rest of the crisp mixture right on top.
- Bake in a 350°F oven for 22-25 minutes, until the top gets nice and golden.
- Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.
If you’ve tried this recipe, please take a minute to rate the recipe and let me know how things went for you in the comments below. It’s always such a pleasure to hear from you!
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66 Comments on “Paleo Date Squares – A Break From The Whole30 (sort of…)”
these look good!
When I saw the title, I was expecting a “lara bar” type of confection similar to the Energy Bars I made and posted about the other day…
But these remind me more of the fig rolls I used to loave as a kid back in the UK…. I suspect that if I substitured figs for the dates I could make something a bit like that…
Am salivating at the thought!
Oh yeah! I think figs would work wonderfully well, too! Maybe even a mix of dates and figs!
Now I’m salivating at the thought, too! 🙂
These date squares look amazing! I will definitely have to give these a try.
They remind me a bit of Fig Newtons, only better…and healthier. Great recipe my friend that’s one I am going to try asap!
OMG, fig newtons… I’d completely forgotten about these.
OK, that’s it. Next time I make this recipe, I’m trying it with figs. And maybe apricots…
Hey, let me know how you liked ’em if you end up whipping up a batch!
Wow… yay for you for doing another round of whole30.. 😉 I’m impressed and happy too so I can enjoy those fab recipes some more.. 😉 Now this one… Seriously… that looks really good! And as for baking without tasting; it is hard, very hard, but it can be done! I’ve done it the whole of last week, but then it wasn’t really important if it tasted ok or not, so that helps. It becomes trickier if you want someone to actually eat it… Well good luck with the decision anyway! 😉
Haha! Baking without tasting when you’re making a recipe that’s tried, tested and true might work, although I too would probably find myself stopping with the spoon already halfway to my mouth… But when you’re creating something from scratch, it’s a recipe for disaster, especially if you’re gonna post that recipe for someone else to bake on their birthday! I wouldn’t even dream of doing something like that!
Guess that will have to wait until AFTER this second round of Whole30! 😉
So yes, more Whole30 compliant recipes are coming this way! 😀
These sound amazing!! I am day 3 of my 2nd Whole30 so no treats for now but I am bookmarking these for later 😉
btw, what does the baking soda do in the date mixture?
Thanks Alyssa! The baking soda in the date mixture helps break the dates down and make the filling super extra creamy and velvety smooth!
Good luck with your Whole30 challenge. I’ve decided to extend mine after all, so I too, will be Whole30ing the month of August away! 😀
Looks so yummy! Will definitely be making this very soon!! Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful recipes x
These look and sound super healthy and yummy! Dates are such a yummy treat. Love your green nail polish too 🙂
Haha! Thank you Laura! 🙂
Lovely looking date squares. Have you decided to take the challenge all the way through August?
Thank you, Tender! And yes, I did make a decision: I will be Whole30ing all the way through August after all!
So that’ll be 62 days total!
Irresistable nails ^^
Haha! Thanks! 😀
Looks soooo good, I must try!!
The squares look so good, love dates in it. Bookmarking this.
YUM! want to make these, but I can’t do dates, or anything too sweet really. I can have bananas, or other non dried fruits. Any way to make a berry fillings?
Not sure, Barb. Like I said in the post, the crust is rather firm, so it needs a filling that really holds up well. Unless you plan on eating these with a fork (and knife!), then I guess any kind of fruit filling would work!
These sound really good….I’m not used to cooking with dates, do you use dried dates or fresh? Thanks 🙂
I used dried dates for this, Linda.
These look great, but what is vanilla powder?
Vanilla Powder is basically whole vanilla pods that have been pulverized into a fine powder. You could very well leave it out or use pure vanilla extract instead.
I am going to be making these today, they look absolutely delectable and just like the ones my mother use to make. Can’t wait!
Now, I thought you had a recipe for Lemon Squares on here? Am I mistaken?
I do indeed have one, Debbie. You can find it here: Meyer Lemon Squares
Hope the date squares were to your liking!
can I leave out the cream tartar? We don’t have it in our country…
I suppose you could, Laura. It might change the final consistency a bit, but it shouldn’t be too dramatic! 😉
Hi there! I tried these out today, but I’m wondering about the crumble measurements. They add up to almost 4 cups before the oil is addes, which is quite a bit. Mine resulted in a really dry crumbly crust that did not come together. The bottom was at least an inch thick, as was the top. I used a 9X9 pan. Did I mess up or is a measurement off? 1 1/4 cup of coconut flour seems like a lot. Maybe it was supposed to be just 1/4 cup? TIA for your reply!
The quantity sounds right to me, Michelle. you get about 2½ cups for the bottom layer and the rest goes on top. I like to get a nice thick crust on my date squares. One inch sounds like a lot, though… I’d say mine was probably about half that. As for it being crumbly and not staying together, adding a little bit more fat usually does the trick!
Mine is super crumbly and won’t hold together. 🙁 I’m going to freeze it and hope that helps. Totally upset as this was supposed to be for a cookie exchange. All the different combos test great though.
So sorry to hear, Renee… Looks like I’m gonna have to revisit and troubleshoot that recipe soon, although I suppose adding a little bit more coconut oil to the crumble mix would’ve most likely solved the problem.
So after freezing I only lost 2 square to total crumbling. The rest I shook a bit off the top and they still were proper squares! My husband ate the “shrapnel” and said it tasted “healthy” then he shook the parchment paper into his mouth…. I would say he liked it! Lol
Phew! Glad to hear! Thanks for keeping me posted, Renee, I really appreciate that. And I STILL think I need to revisit this recipe, if only because I’m craving one of those squares big time now! 🙂
I would love these, however, I have tree nut, peanut, and sunflower allergies. Any suggestions for exchanges for the almonds?
Unfortunately, Terry, nothing comes to mind… real sorry about that!
what about hemp seeds??
Thanks for the recipe. I just made these but I didn’t have coconut flour so I just used gluten free flour. But the crust ended up really soggy. It didn’t come out crisp, or crunchy or crumbly. I’m not sure what I did wrong :/ It still tastes delicious but the crust is more like a peanut butter than a crust! haha
To put it simply, Shaina, you didn’t use the right kind of flour… Coconut flour has very particular properties and can’t simply be subbed in a one to one ratio.
AHHHH I’m doing my Whole 30 now and all I can think of is these date squares. It’s the first thing I’m eating in February. So date-y and good. Until then, many roasts and slow cooker meals and bacon. mmm bacon. Almost as good as date squares. Maybe both together would blow my mind?
OMG ALEXANDRA, I think you’re on to something! In fact, I think my mind was just blown from the simple thought of it. Oh now I want to try this SOOOOO bad. I think I’m gonna have to whip up a batch before I start my own round of Whole30 (which is scheduled to start on the day yours comes to an end…) Thank you so much for that inspiration, and good luck with the rest of your challenge! Make sure to let me know how those dates squares worked for you if you end up giving them a go!
I’ve been itching to make something like this for a while and your recipe looks fantastic! I’ll have to give it a try soon, especially since all the ingredients are lurking in my kitchen right now.
Lucky! This is one of my favorite recipes ever! I hope you like ’em too. Please let me know how they turned out if you end up making them! 🙂
I tried this recipe mine too came out all crumbly. instead of extra oil could I add an egg?
I read that for recipes that call for coconut flour, it seems more eggs are added to the recipe? also any ideas for adding a little more flavor to the bottom and top layer. I felt it was dry and could use some more flavor? maybe apple a little apple sauce to keep it whole 30 approved. the date mixture pretty much came out perfect. though I think next time a little less dates as it overwhelmed the entire dish. It’s so hard to make a dish that taste so delicious with out all the butter, the oats, the sugar. I think I may have to come to terms with paleo baking still tasting good but not as deliscious with all the bad junk in it
I’m sorry to hear your experience didn’t go all that wall, Lindsay. I think I really, really need to revisit this recipe. Too bad I’m currently doing a Whole30, because you really inspired me with your mention of butter.
I am so making a note to come up with a new and improved version of these after this Whole30 is over!
Hey, so I was wanting to make these but I am short on almonds:( I have a cup, I notice that they go in the food processor…could I add in almond flour to sub the rest of the almonds? I was going to just go for it, but then though…hey, maybe you have an opinion on this:)
I suppose you could… it’s pretty much only going to affect the final texture.
Made these this afternoon. I am on a Whole 30 now, but what the heck! the ingredients are compliant, right? I didn’t have limes, so used lemon juice instead, but the filling is SO good! I did use almond flour instead of the almonds. My only complaint is that I think there might be too much coconut flour. It made the top and bottom really dry. I too, am wondering about some butter and eggs in that part, but I really think you are onto something wonderful!! 🙂
So sorry! I just noticed you revisited the recipe and the new one looks fabulous! I think a reduction in the coconut flour and the addition of tapioca flour will do the trick!! can’t wait to retry!!
Ah, yes! The second version is much closer to the real thing indeed. Can’t wait to hear what you think!
I’m doing a Whole 30 now, 20 of 30 days. is this really a compliant ingredients? Omg, these date bars looks amazing and delicious! I haven’t eaten a paleo desserts for a while *drools*
These date squares are indeed made with Whole30 compliant ingredients, Celeste, but that doesn’t make them Whole30 compliant. They totally go against the whole mentality behind the program. You should definitely save them for when your challenge is over!
Made these today- the filling is delicious, but the ‘crust’ was a disaster! I followed the recipe to the T, and the crust had so much fat in it, it never set up right. I had to double the baking time and still a mushy mess! Is 3/4 cup coconut oil right?? I’ve done tons of baking with coconut flour and have never heard of using so much oil. Any insight? I would maybe only add 1/4 c oil next time as this was sort of a disaster.
I really don’t know what to say, Shae… 3/4 of a cup of oil for a crumble mixture really isn’t much at all, especially not if said mixture contains so much coconut flour! Did you chill your coconut oil as specified in the recipe and then place the crumble mixture in the fridge for 15-20 minutes before using it?
Plus, you say you doubled the baking time and nothing burned? That doesn’t sound right. Are you sure that your oven temp is accurate?
1/4 cup coconut oil definitely wouldn’t be enough to bind all the ingredients thing together…
Mine also came out way to loose and crumbly. Taste is great but you can’t cut them into squares and you have to eat with a fork or spoon. Also thought there is to much crust.
I’m real sorry to hear, Michele. Looks like I might have to revisit this recipe…
Awww man! You updated the recipe but on a separate page?? What a bummer! =(
I didn’t update the recipe, I made a different version… hence the distinct post!
Just made these for my gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free family. They were a huge hit for ages 7-65. They will be made again for sure.
So very happy to hear, Diane! Thank you for taking the time to let me know! 🙂
I was doing a strict keto. Lost 34.2 pounds with only 3.8 to go. I have been losing up the rains a bit (still always in ketosis) just giving myself a bit more food options and was dying for something sweet. This was perfect!!! Could only eat a very small piece. But so delicious. Thank you!!! Natasha
Thanks! Glad you liked the squares and enjoyed your treat, Natasha!
I just wanted to post and say I made these, since a lot of posts were I want to try these.
Mine turned out amazing, even the next day they’re still soft and gooey in the middle. Definitely need a coffee or tea to eat them. I had to put some in the freezer so I don’t eat them all.
I have to say though that I didn’t put in vanilla powder, Himalayan salt (I just used regular salt) or cream of tartar, more so because I didn’t have these and didn’t think it was a game changer.
I also added a bit of water in the crumb. Just enough so it wasn’t dry and not enough so it became too wet and sticky. I could pick it up with my hands and form it.
I also blended the dates into a paste after cooking them, and I really think that was the best call.
I also bake it in an 8” round cake pan, with a lined bottom.
Turned out great.
Real happy to hear, Shauna! Thanks a bunch for the 5 star review and for taking the time to share your awesome feedback! 🙂
I made these and wow, a great tasting date bar thats healthy!
I refrigerated them for a couple hours before cutting and the cam out with no problem.