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close up of medjool date filled cookies stacked on wood board. Orange slices on right, dried date and orange zester on left

Medjool Date Filled Cookies (Gluten-Free)

Author: Janet Harlow
Course: Baked Goods
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Servings: 18
Inspired by my grandmother’s date-filled cookie recipe, my version is made with gluten-free shortbread pastry, a Medjool date filling, and is equally as delicious!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 50 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 1 c +1 Tbsp c gluten-free flour blend* King Arthur Measure for Measure recommended
  • 2 Tbsp corn meal
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 8 Tbsps cold unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 2-4 Tbsp dairy or vegan yogurt Kite Hill is the best

Date Filling

  • 1 orange
  • 6 oz pitted dates 7-8 dates or about ¾ c, tightly packed
  • ¼ c water
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 pinches salt
  • ¼ c chopped walnuts or pine nuts optional

Instructions
 

Make the dough in the food processor (easiest, or see below to mix by hand)

  • Combine all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
  • Cut the butter into cubes and add to the dry ingredients. Pulse in the food processor around 20 times. The mixture will turn to crumbs the size of small pearls. This is not like pie dough. Uniform, small crumbs is what you are looking for.
  • Add 3 Tbsps of the yogurt. Run the food processor until the dough pulls together.
  • If the dough does not come together, add one teaspoon of yogurt and mix. If is is very sticky (sticks to your fingers easily) add 1 tsp flour and mix.
  • Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate 10-15 minutes while you make the filling. If your house is cool (70°F or below) you can skip chilling in the fridge. Cover the bowl and leave on the counter.
  • This dough is more difficult to handle when it is very cold, so no longer than 15 minutes in the fridge.

Mix the dough by hand

  • Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
  • Cut the butter in with a fork or pastry blender until the mixture turns to crumbs the size of small pearls. No big chunks of butter.
  • Mix in 3 Tbsp of the yogurt. It is best to use a wood spoon to press the cream into the dough.
  • If the dough is not coming together, dig in with your hands, pressing and kneading. If it sill seems too dry, work in 1 tsp of yogurt. If it is too sticky, work in 1 tsp of flour.
  • Dump the dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap, Fold the plastic over the dough and use your hands to form the dough into a ball. Flatten to a disk and refrigerate 10-15 minutes. If your house is cool (70°F or below) you can skip chilling in the fridge. Cover the bowl and leave on the counter,
  • This dough is more difficult to handle when it is very cold, so no longer than 15 minutes in the fridge.

Make the date filling

  • Be sure to remove the pits from the dates before weighing or measuring.
  • Zest the orange using a microplane. Cut it in half and juice it into a small skillet.
  • Add the zest, dates, water, cinnamon and salt.
  • Simmer, stirring and mashing the dates, over a medium-low flame until most of the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes.
  • The dates should be melting and fall apart easily. If the liquid is gone and the dates are still firm, add 2 Tbsps water and continue simmering.
  • Mash the mixture with a fork.
  • Once it is mashed, stir in the nuts, if using. Spread it out on a plate to let it cool while you roll out the dough.

Assemble the Cookies

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F and line baking sheets with parchment.
  • Take the plastic off the dough and knead for 1 minute.
  • Roll out half dough out between 2 pieces of plastic wrap or on a flour dusted silicone mat with plastic wrap on top. Gluten-free dough is sticky and this makes it easier.
  • Roll it to thinner than a pie crust (less than ⅛").
  • Cut out just one 3-3½" circle using a cutter or mouth of a wide glass. Before cutting any more, test this one by trying to fold it in half. If it cracks a lot, roll the dough a little bit thinner.
  • Place 1 tsp filling onto each circle, fold in half and use your fingers to gently press it closed.
  • Cut out the remaining dough and repeat steps 5-6.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes. These cookies are not meant to turn brown.
  • Cool before eating, the filling is hot!

  • Be sure to check out my full list of gluten-free cookie recipes

Notes

This recipe was tested with King Arthur Measure for Measure Flour. Cup4Cup and Pamela's Artisan Blend are similar and should work well too.
If using a gluten-free flour blend that does not contain xanthan gum, gluar gum or inulin add 1 tsp to the dry ingredients.
For an easy DIY gluten-free flour blend, combine:
2 c brown rice flour
2/3 c potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch
Did you make this recipe?Let me know how it was! Tag @chefjanetk on Instagram.