Just One Donna!: Old Fashioned Date-Filled Sugar Cookies

Friday, March 30, 2012

Old Fashioned Date-Filled Sugar Cookies

Old Fashioned Date-Filled Cookies
One day when chatting about favorite cookie recipes with my mom and dad, Dad raved about a date-filled cookie he remembered from his childhood.  It was one of his favorite recipes my nana made for her family.  Mom dug through her recipe collection and was able to find a recipe for the cookies.  This recipe card attributed the recipe to Edith Hoar, one of the ladies from Grand Lake Stream, Maine, the small town where Dad was raised.

The recipe directions made me laugh.  Like many recipes from the time, this recipe for date filled cookies was customarily ambiguous.  It read:
Cream: 2 cups sugar, 1 cup shortening
Add:  1 cup milk, 2 eggs, 6 level teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons vanilla, flour enough to roll
Filling: Stir 2 packages dates, 2/3 cups sugar, 2 teaspoons flour, 2 cups water.  Cook together until smooth and thick.
Roll cookies thin.  Cut out and place on cookie sheet.  Fill. Cover with a cookie.  Bake at 350 degrees F, 12 to 15 minutes.

I decided to make these cookies one rainy afternoon this week.  Curious about the recipe, I did an online search to see if I could find this recipe or a similar one that would give me more clarity about how much flour to use.  I found a similar recipe at Cooks.com.  After reading that recipe I adjusted my recipe to include 6 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.  I was ready to go.

Old Fashioned Date Filled Cookies
Print Recipe

Date Filled Cookie Ingredients
  • 16 ounces pitted dates, chopped
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups water

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 6 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour

First, make the filling.  Chop the dates.  I snipped mine using kitchen shears into the bowl of my electric food chopper.  I added the 2 tablespoons of flour to help keep the dates from sticking to the blades of the chopper.  Place the chopped dates in a 2-quart saucepan.  Add the sugar and water, stir to combine.  Heat the mixture over medium heat and cook until thick, about 15 minutes.  Set aside to cool to room temperature.

The Date Filling

While the filling is cooling, make the cookie batter.  Mix the flour, salt and baking powder together in a large bowl.  Set aside.  In the bowl of your electric mixer, cream together the shortening and the granulated sugar, about 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time and the vanilla, beating to combine well.  Alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

The Cookie Batter

Divide the batter in half, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until ready to use.

Divide the Dough into Two Disks
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  When ready to assemble the cookies, lightly flour your rolling surface.  Roll out one-half of the dough to a thickness from 1/8-1/4 inch using a rolling pin.  Choose the size of your cookie cutter.  I used a 3-inch round which made HUGE cookies.  I recommend a smaller round, about 2-inches.  These cookies expand in the oven, so if you start smaller you'll have more room on your cookie sheet.  You'll find the dough is easy to roll out and very forgiving.

Roll Out the Dough

Place one cookie on the baking sheet.  Top the cookie with the cooled date filling.  Be generous, but be sure to leave a border along the edge to seal the top cookie to the bottom cookie.

Filling the Cookies
Now place a second cookie on top of the filling.

Place a Second Cookie on Top
Continue to assemble additional cookies, eight or nine to a cookie sheet.   Seal the edges using the tines of a fork dipped in flour.

Seal the Edges
Bake one pan of cookies at a time on the center rack of your oven.  My large sized cookies took 20 minutes to bake, smaller cookies will take 12-15 minutes.  They are done as soon as they start to get a tinge of golden color.
Cool Date-Filled Cookies on a Rack

Remove the cookies to a rack to cool.  Cool completely.  These are generously sized treats that are different from the usual cookies I make or buy.  If you are looking for something different, these old fashioned date-filled cookies may fit the bill.  They are lovely with a cup of tea.



  1. I am excited to add this cookie to my Christmas cookie list. As we discussed over coffee, I am interested in trying one layer of dough folded in half with date filling inside. My mom also made a similar recipe with a fig filling.

    1. I agree, folding the cookie in half would be great!

  2. My mom added crushed walnuts to the filling. Yum!!

  3. We have had these for years...my grandmother (and I am 65) made them and then mom....so it originated in PA....from our family...........and we always had walnuts in them.............here in Texas, we grow pecans, but I still buy walnuts for Xmas for this...............Love them...................

  4. I'll have to try them with the nuts. Thanks for the tip.


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