These have to be my favourite baked treat. Unfortunately for me, the only time of year Mom made the squares was Christmas, but she made the cookies as a special treat for Dad a couple of times a year. I've never been able to replicate hers, but they are still really good :)
Date Filling: Cook dates, water, orange rind and sugar in small saucepan (1 qt), over moderate heat until thick and smooth. Remove from heat, add juices mix well. Cool before spreading on cookie or oatmeal batter.
Date Cookies: Cream butter and lard, add sugar, mix until smooth, add vanilla and mix. Sift flour, baking powder and soda. Add to mixture alternately with milk. Add rolled oats a cup at a time, mix in. It will be stiff so you may want to use your hands to mix. Roll out on a floured surface, cut with 2-3” cookie cutter, place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 325°F for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool and spread with date filling. Sandwich with another cookie on top.
Date Squares: Sift flour, baking powder, soda and salt. Rub in butter with tips of fingers. Add sugar and oatmeal. Mix well with fingers until all oatmeal is covered. It should be like a crumble. Spread one half of mixture crumbs into a greased, shallow pan, pat down to make it smooth. Cover with cooled date filling, spreading it evenly, then cover with the remaining crumbs. Pat to make smooth. Bake at 325°F for 30 to 35 minutes. Cut while still warm and allow to cool in the pan.