Fig-Cranberry Oat Squares


I realize this is far from a June weekend sort of a recipe – but remember those bazillion baggies in my cupboard? I’m chipping away at them. Starting with the figs.

This weekend is the Food Bloggers’ Bake Sale in support of Calgary Meals on Wheels (at the Market Collective in the old Anthill building in Kensington -148-10 St NW- Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 11-5 – admission is $2 or a food bank donation) – I baked a half dozen Blueberry & Ginger Banana Loaves, Cranberry, White Chocolate & Macadamia Nut Cookies, Brownies for a Crowd, Kettle Corn (that everyone ate while watching the World Cup), some Sponge Toffee (that I burnt all to hell) and these squares. Everyone knows and loves date squares (affectionately known as Matrimonial Slice for their popularity at weddings and showers in the fifties). Turns out they can take on any number of fillings; here cranberries are cooked down with dried figs to a thick jam, then spread in between layers of crumbly oats, butter and sugar. It really smacks of fall and back to school. No matter.

Fig-Cranberry Oat Squares (Matrimonial Slice)


June 18, 2010

  • Makes: Makes 16 squares.


Base & topping

1 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour, or a combination

1 cup oats

2/3 c. packed brown sugar

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/3 cup butter, chilled

Date Filling

1 250 g (8 oz.) pkg. dried figs

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

3/4 cup sugar, white or brown

3/4 cup orange juice or water


1Preheat oven to 350°F.

2In a small saucepan, combine the figs, cranberries, sugar and orange juice over medium heat. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring often, for about 10 minutes or until the berries burst and the mixture becomes thick and jamlike. Remove from heat and set aside.

3In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Add the butter and mix with a fork or your fingers until the mixture is well combined and crumbly. (Alternatively, the mixture can be pulsed in a food processor until well combined.) Press half the crumbs into an 8” x 8” pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.

4Spread the filling over the crust, and sprinkle with remaining crumbs, squeezing as you go to create bigger clumps. Bake for 30–35 minutes, until pale golden and bubbly around the edges. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.


Speaking of food (and aren’t I always?) I have a good food read to give away for Free Stuff Friday – a copy of Tara Austen Weaver’s The Butcher and the Vegetarian, an excellent summer read. (Hey, if you do see summer, can you send it over? Thanks.) Congrats to Jill, who got that bowl filled with cookies, and Erica, who I got to hang out with at GalleryCalorie last weekend!

What I’d really like to know is: what was for dinner last night?


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38 comments on “Fig-Cranberry Oat Squares

  1. Lorraine
    June 18, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    Dinner last night was Bison Pot Roast….yummmm…….

  2. Erica B.
    June 18, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Dinner was Swiss chard & white bean stew – totally needed *something* pancetta maybe? Dessert(after putting three overtired kids to bed solo) vanilla ice cream with leftover strawberry rhubarb pie filling.

  3. Angela
    June 18, 2010 at 11:54 pm

    Today (18) was my 33 birthday. I had a Greek supper of calamari and Greek salad for supper with a friend and movie theater popcorn for dessert while watching Sex and the City 😉

  4. Lori
    June 19, 2010 at 5:11 am

    Frozen Pizza that I doctored with extra cheese. My neighbour dropped in so I shared and we had a good visit.
    (Note to self; eat something groovier on Friday nights so it’s not so embarrassing when you try to win JVR’s contest)

  5. Robin
    June 19, 2010 at 5:30 am

    Cod with roasted tomato vinaigrette and garlic aioli–a recipe from Sara Moulton’s new cookbook, Everyday Family Dinners. It was delicious.

  6. Lana
    June 19, 2010 at 6:26 am

    Last night we were at a family pool party for my husband’s side of the family. We had: beef tenderloin, bbq salmon, ham, sausages, orzo, green salad, greek salad, green beans, baked beans, homemade rolls, and a birthday cake for dessert for the late matriarch of the family who would have been 102 this week!

  7. Brigitte
    June 19, 2010 at 7:27 am

    Dinner last night? A vegeratian meal…Asparagus-ricotta torte from the Vegetarian Times, The Farmer’s Market Edition.
    I made it with some fresh asparagus from Edgar’s farm. I aslo served a spinach salad. The spinach came from the Riverbend gardens,
    I also made the asparagus soup for lunch today (from the same magazine).
    We are trying to eat local as much as we can.
    Have a nice week-end!

  8. Alison
    June 19, 2010 at 7:52 am

    Italian chicken stew, with dumplings. I know, the dumplings are not so Italian, but my husband loves them and we were out of bread. My two-year-old ate four helpings, so I guess it was good!

  9. Carol SB
    June 19, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Matrimonial squares. Mmm.
    Not just called that because of their popularity at weddings and showers: our witty grandmas apparently figured they were two layers brought together by dates.
    I’ll see you at the bake sale!

  10. John
    June 19, 2010 at 8:21 am

    I like the look of this recipe very much. I may have to “borrow” it. 🙂

    I case this is a problem a sense of fairness compels me to let you know I have pictures of you grabbing a certain celeb chef’s butt and am not afraid to use them. lol

    P.S. Kathryn will be joining us at our annual Crab Boil today, let me know if she mentions it and what she thought. I know she would never tell us if she didn’t like it. 😉

  11. JulieVR
    June 19, 2010 at 8:46 am

    Oh great. I had completely forgotten about that. I must have blocked it from my memory. Thanks for the reminder!!

  12. Shaun
    June 19, 2010 at 9:02 am

    I love date squares, and this looks like a wonderful riff on tradition. Growing up, we called date squares matrimonial cake. My mom even had a rhyme for it: “matrimonial cake — so easy, a bride can make!”

  13. Cheryl
    June 19, 2010 at 9:11 am

    It was the Monster’s birthday party so we had pulled pork sandwiches with cole slaw, a baked potato bar, and our now traditional lemon butter cake as birthday cake. See what you missed!

  14. Jessica
    June 19, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Turkey burgers (with chopped onion, garlic, parsley, black pepper, and not enough salt), tater tots (that have been in the bottom of the freezer for at least 6 months), frozen corn (cooked), and lots of ketchup. Oh, and Timmie’s donuts, provided by my husband and son’s instructor after the guitar recital. :o)

  15. Ellen
    June 19, 2010 at 9:56 am

    dinner last night was falafel, babaganoush, hummus, salad and some snacking 🙂 that’s what happens when you eat alone!

  16. Barb
    June 19, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Matrimonial Squares are an old familiar treat. I really like them and I like the variation you have used today. I would buy them if I was there…
    Last night – big salad with grilled chicken. Sounds very calorie conscious, right?

  17. Mary Ann
    June 19, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Last night was delivery- too hot to cook! I think you are getting the summer that Quebec got last year (worst summer on record for the province). A few nights ago I made garlic shrimp with fresh parm (my weekday go-to recipe) and swapped spaghetti squash done in the microwave for the pasta. It was a great change!

  18. Laurie from Burnaby
    June 19, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Angela – happy birthday!
    I had a Japanese dinner – miso soup, gomae, wakame, sweet potatoe tempura, shrimp tempura, soft shelled crab, oysters, salad, and shimp gyoza.

  19. Kathy
    June 19, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Potluck with friends last night. We brought home-made Chicken BBQ Pizza and they supplied the wine and the chinese food. We were over there b/c we were fine-tuning a presentation to our “group” about my friend’s C’s 3 months in S. Africa working with HIV+ Pt’s, with organization.

  20. rea
    June 19, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    vegetarian pita pizzas and a salad. a couple glasses of red wine over which i solved my plot problems.

  21. Lauren
    June 19, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Last night, I had homemade (gluten-free) pasta in a sage-butter sauce with cheese. Super simple and let me crash on the couch after a day of prepping for the bake sale :).

  22. Donna
    June 19, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Last night we ate leftover beef stew (Canadian Living Slow cooker cookbook), leftover chili (Julie’s sloppy joe variation from Starting Out), salads

  23. Jennifer Jo
    June 19, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Those bars look so, SO yummy. I have oodles of dates to use up, so I think I’ll be calling this recipe into service sometime in the near future.

    Yes, I’d like a summer read! I need one, big time. I’m plum out of books, resorting to reading factual, dry material—good stuff, just not all that riveting.

  24. Angela
    June 19, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Last night was a Mexican feast at Salt n Pepper….yummmmo

  25. Robin (Hippo Flambe)
    June 19, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Sauteed mesclun mix with garlic and rhubarb, baked cod with an herb and bread crumb crust and corn on the cob (still out of season but still really good).


  26. Sondi
    June 19, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Last night’s dinner was a simple stir-fry with zucchini and asparagus from my local farmer’s market.

  27. jake
    June 19, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    great looking recipe, i love date squares, so i need to try these. I just made rhubarb/fig jam today…i wonder if a fig/rhubarb version would work. Rhubarb doesn’t get thick like cranberries. hmmm?

  28. jake
    June 19, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    …i guess i could just cook it down like the jam…or maybe use the jam?

  29. Margaret L
    June 20, 2010 at 8:35 am

    Dinner was spinach quiche, with spinach from my garden.

  30. Sue (London, ON)
    June 20, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Dinner last night was at someone else’s house. That right there is something to cheer about! Grilled steak and sausage (a combination I wouldn’t have thought of but man it was good), bean salad, devilled eggs, a biggy salad with a tray of build-your-own toppings and strawberry shortcake for dessert… oh… and a wee bit of red wine!

  31. Lesli Christianson-Kellow
    June 20, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Yum to the squares – I like figs, won’t it be fun when the fresh ones come out next month??? Dinner last night was Greek pasta (think tomato sauce, cinnamon, ricotta cheese, eggs)kinds bland, will have to ‘kcik it up’ next time…

  32. erin
    June 21, 2010 at 8:14 am

    We had chicken souvlaki on naan with tzatsiki and all the toppings (in honour of father’s day).

  33. charm
    June 21, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Spinach and chickpease with a poached egg on top. Very tasty.

  34. Crystal
    June 21, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Last night’s dinner was was Daddy’s Choice – Meatloaf, Scalloped/Au Gratin Potatoes, and Steamed Veggies – Delish!

  35. Joanne
    June 21, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Dinner on Sat. night in flooded Medicine Hat was more interesting. After reading “Eating Animals” and “The Vegetarian Myth”, both excellent books, I’ve decided to try eating vegetarian plus organic/non-factory-farmed meat only. Ended up at a steakhouse in the Hat so ordered the only two veggie things on the menu–a sort of mushroom/cheese bruschetta and a butterleaf lettuce salad. Lunch the next day at Zucchini Blossom was more to my liking.

  36. glenda
    June 21, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Yesterday was a wedding at Kannanaskis Guest Ranch – so roast beef, baked potato, beans, corn on the cob, salad, some rhubarb strawberry pie(which I just could not stuff in!), some glorious sunshine and a backdrop of Rocky mountains! Superb!

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