Incredible Date Cookies

3 cups plain flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp ground cardamon
8 oz. unsalted butter (1 cup)
3 tsp orange flower water
1/4 cup milk
8 oz pitted dates
2 Tbsp butter
1 egg slightly beaten with 1 tsp of water

Sift flour, sugar and cardamon into a large mixing bowl. Cut butter into pieces and rub flour with fingertips until distributed evenly. Blend orange flower water or rose water with milk and sprinkle onto flour mixture. Mix to a firm dough and knead lightly until smooth. Rest dough for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop dates. Place in a pan with the butter and heat gently until dates soften, stirring often. Remove from heat and set aside.

Divide pastry into 3 equal portions and roll each portion into a rectangle 1/2″ thick and 4″ wide. Put one-third of the date mixture, shaped into a long roll, along one edge of pastry and roll up to enclose filling. Press edges and ends to seal and place rolls joint side down, on ungreased baking sheet. Decorate top with pastry crimper or any other means to make a design. Brush with egg/water mixture.

Bake in a preheated moderately slow oven (170 C or 325 F) for 30-35 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on tray – pastries will become firm and crisp on cooling. Cut cookies at an angle at about every 1/2 inch before completely cooled. Store in a sealed container when cool.

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