B’ab’e B’Tamer (Iraqi Date-Filled Cookies)

Ayelet Izraeli

30 minutes + 50 minutes baking

~3 dozen

Iraqi Purim Pastries. Photo by Dor Malka

These date-filled cookies are part of an annual Purim party in Ayelet Izraeli’s family, a tradition that came with her grandmother who fled Baghdad for Israel in 1950. Start by making the family’s dough recipe, which yields enough for three dozen of these cookies along with four dozen or so savory cheese-filled sambusak. Any leftover dough can be twisted into simple ring-shaped biscuits called ka’akat. All of the pastries pair well with tea and can be made two weeks in advance and stored in the freezer.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened date paste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • sesame seeds, for sprinkling
  • Dough

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the date paste and butter in a medium bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Mix until evenly combined and easy to work with. Add 30 seconds at a time in the microwave if needed. (Alternatively, heat in a small pan on the stove).
  3. On a clean work surface, roll out a quarter of the dough into a ⅙-inch thick circle. Using a 3” diameter glass, cut circles in the dough. Reserve the leftover dough between the circles for k’aakat (see below).
  4. Place 1½ teaspoons of the date mixture in the center of each circle. Gather the edges of the circle to the center and pinch closed making a small parcel. Then flip so the seam side is down and flatten into a disc with the palm of your hand. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining filling and dough.
  5. Lightly brush each cookie with the egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  6. Using the handle of a wooden spoon dipped in the egg wash, make 3 holes in each cookie (to release any air pockets).
  7. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until golden brown, 20-24 minutes (baking time will be longer if you bake more than one sheet of cookies at a time).
  8. Let cool, then serve or freeze until serving.

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