Bars & Squares

Sweet Traditions – Healthier Matrimonial Squares

October 24, 2012

My Grandma Alice was well known for her sweet tooth. I blame my Mother’s side for my sweet tooth, and my Father’s side for my love of savoury foods (the Italian side).

When my mom and I would go to visit my Grandma, we would take her out to shop, and then for lunch (almost always for Chinese food), and afterwards my Grandma would want something sweet for dessert. One of her favourite desserts were lemon tarts, or lemon squares. She loved lemon desserts. She was also Diabetic, but she never passed on dessert. My Grandpa was also notorious for eating an entire bag of chocolate bars (they would try and hide them from him, but he found it).


When we would get together for family functions my Grandma would make one of her specialties – Nanaimo bars (tooth-achingly sweet), Butter Tarts, or Matrimonial Squares. Now, My moms sisters, my cousins and myself carry on these recipes (I’ve mentioned it before here and here ) I loved Matrimonial Squares, and would always look forward to a family gathering because I knew one of the above treats would be served. Apparently my Grandma would even add lemon to her matrimonial squares, so I’ll have to try that next time. I haven’t had them in a quite a while, but when I was searching the other night for a ‘bar’ recipe, I happened to stumble upon a recipe for 5 Ingredient Date Bars. They reminded me so much of Matrimonial squares, or cake,  that I didn’t hesitate to make them. If my Grandma were here I know she would have loved these, and wouldn’t have even missed the sugar! I’ll have to try these out with my Mom’s family at the next gathering to see how they like them. I don’t think they will be disappointed.

I probably could have eaten the entire tray myself. They are amazingly close to the real thing, with no added sugar, wheat free, dairy free, and vegan! And, no bake. Definitely a repeat recipe for the future. And even great as a dish for a brunch or breakfast buffet.

Healthier Matrimonial Squares or “5 Ingredient Date Bars”

From, Oh She Glows, original adapted from Karen


  • 1.5 cups whole raw almonds
  • 1.5 cups oats (I used Gluten Free/Wheat Free Oats)
  • 10 Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut

Date filling:

  • 25 Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped (about 2.5 cups)
  • 6-8 Honey Dates
  • 1/4 Cup Water


1. In a food processor, process the almonds and oats until fine. Next, add in the 10 dates and coconut and process until crumbly again. Melt the coconut oil and add to the mixture and process until it becomes sticky, and clumps together, You can do this on pulse mode.

Remove from processor, set aside about a cup to use as top layer later, and press the rest of the mixture very firmly and evenly into an 8×8 or 9×9 un-greased pan. You can use your fingers, or the back of a spoon to do this.

2. Next, take your pitted and roughly chopped 25 Medjool Dates + Honey Dates and water and process in the food processor until a paste forms. You will have to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl often. Feel free to add more water if the paste is too thick, but you don’t want it to be too thin either. Scoop out the date mixture with a spatula and spoon onto the nut/oat base. Gently spread with a spoon to get it even.

3. Last, sprinkle by hand the 1 cup of mixture you set aside and gently press down. Refrigerate in the fridge until firm – about two hours or overnight.

Cut into squares and serve. Store in the fridge or freezer.

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  • Reply Suzan October 24, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    Can you substitute another type of oil for the coconut oil? They look delicious….hope they will be served for our upcoming family event. xox

  • Reply Aunt Weez October 24, 2012 at 8:49 PM

    Mmmm can’t wait to try these at the gathering Lou!! Aunt Sue and I will be in the line up to try these!! Gramma use to add fresh squeezed lemon juice to the dates. The lemon thing!! Thanks for this recipie. The picture of Momma is so heartwarming! She would have been so proud of her granddaughters keeping up the family recipie’s!! I will try this out for sure. Good for you for buying the gluten/wheat free oats. Who would have thought of a oat is a oat?? Luvs Aunt Weez

  • Reply Britta October 26, 2012 at 2:43 AM

    These.Look.Awesome. and they’re no bake?! even better!! I think I will actually have the enthusiasm to make them (haven’t been in the baking mood lately?)! But, it could also be very dangerous.. a whole tray of date bars.. in the kitchen.. with no one to share them with. 😀 meh, oh well! I am sure they are worth it!

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  • Reply Josie Penner October 28, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    They look delicious Alicia! Can’t wait to taste them at the next family get together! They would be a great sweet to make in the hot summer months as you don’t have to bake them. Matrimonial squares are one of my favorite squares, like my mom.

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