• Bailey Stefan-Houle

Matt Salopek: The chef so nice we had to feature him twice

This month, Chef Matt Salopek walks us through his killer date squares recipes sure to wet your palate in time for this holiday-ish season.

Matt’s Date Squares:


For the filling:

425 g medjool dates, pitted and chopped

250 ml water

2 tbsp dark brown sugar

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp pure Mexican vanilla

1/2 tsp baking soda

For the crumble topping:

175 g quick-cooking oats

150 g cake/pastry flour

160 g dark brown sugar

1 tsp Vietnamese Saigon cinnamon

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp kosher salt

170 g unsalted butter, cold and cubed


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with a strip of parchment paper with a decent amount of overhang on the sides. Grease the unlined sides with butter and set aside

  2. In a medium saucepan or pot, add the medjool dates, water, dark brown sugar, lemon juice and vanilla and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the baking soda and stir vigorously with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the dates have broken down and a paste has formed. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool

  3. In a food processor, combine the oats, cake/pastry flour, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and kosher salt and pulse a few times to combine. Once combined, add the cold cubed butter to the food processor and pulse until you’re left with a mixture that resembles coarse crumbs

  4. Spread half of the crust mixture at the bottom of the baking pan and pat down firmly. Add all of the date mixture on top and spread out evenly to all corners of the pan. Add the remaining crust mixture on top making sure to cover the date mixture completely and pat down gently

  5. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the crust at the top is golden brown. Allow to cool at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, and then cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for an additional 2 to 3 hours. Once completely cooled, unmould from the pan and cut into 9 evenly-sized large squares. Serve and enjoy!