Walking into the house and being hit with the smell of spices! Anis seeds, Nigella seeds, Cinnamon. Fresh hot pastries sitting of the counter top whilst another batch is in the oven. Then seeing mama at the table rolling the dough, amazing! In our house this usually mean that the first taraweeh (night prayer in Ramadan) is just around the corner! Funnily enough we have so little time in ramadan, that we end up eating them on Eid, nevertheless they create a wonderful atmosphere and make us all so nostalgic.
*This weekend my housemates family are over and they happen to be preparing things for ramadan for her, I couldn't be writing this at a more sentimental time! :(
These cookies are a traditional part of ramadan in the arab world! Date cookies come in a plethora of different forms, and these are the ones we’ve make at home over the past few years. The reason being that they’re the easiest to make huge batches without slaving away for a week!
Traditionally they're made from semolina, butter or oil, sugar and some sort of dairy binder. NATURALLY I had to make a version that I could eat, and a version that was much better for you. My ultimate moment of approval with these was when I made them for myself to have on hand last year just before ramadan, and an hour after they were out of the oven they were gone! My family had eaten them and very much enjoyed them! My parents even asked me to make more, which was the ULTIMATE compliment!
Of course ingredients in different parts of the world are different, feel free to play around with the measurements if you feel it necessary! If you do, I’d love to know where you are and what worked for you!
- 1 cup dates
- 2 cups ground almonds
- 2 tbsp oil (Coconut or olive)
- Cold water
- 1 cup gluten free flour/ flour of choice (you may not need all of it!)
- pinch salt
- 1 tsp Onion/Nigella seeds
- 1 tsp Whole Anis seeds
- 2 cups dates
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Add the dates (pitted) to the food processor and blend until fairly smooth
- Add in the ground almonds, oil, salt and seeds and let it bind
- 1 Tbsp at a time, add in the cold water, this could take from 3 spoons to half a cup
- Add in the flour 1Tbsp at a time until the dough forms a ball, or the ingredients is well combined, (you may not need all of the flour!)
- Flour a surface and add the dough to it, then add flour to the dough, slightly kneading it so that it forms a ball and isn't sticky
- Wrap the dough in cling film and flatten into a disk about 1-2 inches thick and chill in the fridge
- Blend the dates and cinnamon in the food processor until they become a paste
- Place in a bowl and set in the fridge too
- Preheat the oven to 170 Fan/190
- Remove the dough from the fridge after about 30 mins (or once it’s firmed up)
- Flour the surface you’ll be working on, I like to put down some baking paper and work on that, and add flour to it, and to a rolling pin
- Start rolling out the dough into a big rectangle shape (or as close as possible!) making sure to keep rotating it so it doesn't stick-until it’s about 3mm in thickness
- Dates- You’ll want to take a little bit of the date paste at a time and thin it out in your hands in a thin layer- 2-3mm in thickness
- Add each piece to though dough, covering the surface
- Toll the dough in to a log from the widest side (like you would with cinnamon roll dough!) it will form layers in the cookies!
- Once rolled up, you can roll in a little on the surface and make the log tighter, and longer
- Then flatten the top a little, and cut the cookies on a diagonal
- Place them on a baking sheet
- Bake for 10-15 mins, flipping them half way
- They’re done once they've become a golden colour
- They will still be fairly soft, but they need to be left to cool completely
Make a cup of tea and enjoy!