Date Filled Butter Cookies

During Eid, it is customary for people to drop in on friends and relatives, bringing cookies as a gift. Khader Masri, who gave us this recipe, classifies these cookies as petits fours. They’re similar to ma’amoul, a round date- or nut-filled cookie common in the Middle East.

Date Filled Butter Cookies Date Filled Butter Cookies
During Eid, it is customary for people to drop in on friends and relatives, bringing cookies, like these, as a gift.
Yield: makes About 3 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. pressed dates
  • 1 12 lb. (6 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups toasted sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Beat pressed dates and 12 lb. (2 sticks) of the butter together in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until well combined and smooth, 2-3 minutes. Set filling aside.
  2. Beat sugar and the remaining butter together in another large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat on high speed until well combined. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour, beating until a smooth dough forms.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, divide into quarters, and roll each piece into a ball (chill dough in the refrigerator if it is too soft to work with). Roll dough balls out on the floured surface with your hands into four 1″-diameter cylinders. Dust your fingertips with flour and press center of each dough cylinder to make a 12“-deep indentation the length of each cylinder. Fill dough cylinders with one-quarter of the date filling. Work dough around filling (including ends of each cylinder) and pinch seems shut, completely closing filling. Sprinkle an even layer of sesame seeds onto a clean surface and roll dough cylinders in seeds, gently pressing seeds into dough for at least 30 minutes to chill.
  4. Preheat oven to 375°. Cut each dough cylinder crosswise into 1″-wide pieces and transfer to a baking sheet, seed side down, about 12” apart. Bake until golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.