Monday, December 12, 2016

Old Fashioned Date-Filled Sugar Cookies

A Delicious Old-Fashioned Date Cookie

I'm always on the lookout for a "new-to-me" cookie recipe.  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.

Date-Filled Sugar Cookies
Old Fashioned Date-Filled Cookies
The 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 vintage 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.
Vintage Date-Filled Sugar Cookies

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  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

Printer Friendly Recipe

Date-Filled Cookie Ingredients
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
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 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 for the Cookies
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.

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

Two Disks of Cookie Dough
Divide the Dough into Two Disks

When ready to assemble the cookies, lightly flour your rolling surface. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.   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.

Cutting the Cookie Dough with a Cookie Cutter
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
Filling the Cookies
Now place a second cookie on top of the filling.

Assembling the date-filled sugar cookies
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.

How to Seal the Edges of the Cookie
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.

Date-filled Sugar Cookies Cooling on a Rack
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.

Before you go...Join the Just One Donna Community for exclusive content or sign up to be notified of new blog posts through an RSS feeder in the sidebar.

Please use the buttons on the left to share this post. I thank you for sharing!



  1. Hi Donna from just one Karr!

    I will have to try these! I have a love affair with dates. In high school, (68-71) I was addicted to Peggy Lawton date bars that they used to sell in our cafeteria. Didn't think much more about dates until I spent 2 years in Saudi Arabia. My Saudi counterpart introduced me to their dates which are so much different than the ones we buy in supermarkets. Their fresh dates were much larger, sweeter, and you'd swear they were rolled in honey. THEY WERE SO-O-O GOOD JUST TO EAT AS IS! It's like they keep the best for themselves and export their puny little discards. Lol.

  2. Hi Just One Karr,
    It sounds like this recipe has your name on it! Dates don't seem to have a wide following here in the U.S., but they are yummy. I also like a nice date nut bread this time of year. I should post my recipe....

  3. love date cookies I sometimes fold over no second cookie great recipe will get some dates today thanks merry Christmas from wis

    1. Yes, I love these cookies, too. Merry Christmas to you.

  4. Will this recipe work with any flavor of pie filling?

    1. Yes, you can use any pie filling you would like and they will still taste amazing.

  5. my mom always made this at Christmas so im going to start this brings back so many memories. thanks

  6. How many cookies does this recipe make?

    1. I made a dozen of these extra large cookies. You'll need to experiment if you make smaller cookies.

    2. My original inquiry was about the extra large version of these cookies, which I made-and I used my method of cracking the eggs-simulating the nursery rhyme of Humpty Dumpty, which I should share with you. First I decorate the egg to look like Humpty Dumpty by affixing arms and legs cut out of paper with duct tape (scotch tape doesn't stick well to eggs just taken out of the refrigerator) and drawing a face on the egg. Then I set up a box that is supposed to be the wall with a bowl at the bottom separate from the bowl used to mix other ingredients. To simulate the line "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall" I seat the egg on top of the box with the bowl at the bottom. To simulate the line "Humpty Dumpty had a great fall" I knock the egg off the wall into the bowl, where, as you would expect, the egg cracks. Then to re-enact the line "All the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again" I place figurines of the King's horses and the King's men near the bowl. This last part is not really part of the egg-cracking procedure, I just do it to be complete.

  7. I am trying these but with raisons not dates. I have the raisons in paste form now, cooling. I am doing a half recipie. Added less sugar to the raisons. Got 8 on two different trays, 16 in total. Took 15 minutes to develop a slight browning. Interesting flavour.

  8. Can I use butter instead of shortening in this recipe?

    1. I never have substituted for this recipe because this is my grandmother’s recipe and I always want it to be just as she made it.

  9. As my Grandmother would always say "oh my goodness". Whenever we would visit her in Ohio she would always have these cookies and chocolate chip cookies on hand. She had a recipe book which she handwritten and was so old some of it was hard to read. I tried making them which didn't quite turn out like hers. So I searched for a recipe that had 6 cups of flour and whalla, I believe this was a hit. Only difference I had was I had 4 tsp baking soda for the dough and I had 2 tsp lemon juice for the filling. Can't wait to try this recipe. Thank You So Much!

  10. Hi Joan. This is exactly why I posted this recipe. I hope you find these are just as you remember the cookies your grandmother made.


Talk to me. I welcome your comments. (These comments are strictly moderated. Spammers take note.)