Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut an 8" by 12" piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom and up 2 of the 4 sides of an 8” square baking pan. (The parchment paper extending the sides of the pan will later be used as handles to lift the square out of the pan once baked.) Place the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat well. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Place the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, dates and pecans in another bowl and stir to combine. Mix into the wet mixture until just combined. Spoon and spread into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in the centre of the square pulls out clean. Cool to room temperature, and then, holding on to the parchment paper, lift the square out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Dust with icing sugar, if desired. Cut into 20 squares.
Note: Pitted dates are available in bags or in bulk. 1 3/4 cups weighs about 250 grams.
Recipe Options: If you prefer, or if it's what you have on hand, use unbleached, all-purpose flour to made the squares. For added richness, cool the uncut squares to room temperature before drizzling with a little melted chocolate. Chill in the fridge to set the chocolate before cutting into squares.