Middle Eastern Date Cookies

Are these called Kleicha? Mahmoul? Ara’eesh? I wasn’t sure so I ran with an all-encompassing generic name, but who cares? All you need to worry about is that they are delicious and perfect for Ramadan.


First make the pastry. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add wet ingredients and combine well. This is good to do with a rubber spatula and sort of ‘push and press’ the mixture together. Once combined sit it in the fridge while you make the filling.

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius.

Put all filling ingredients into a small saucepan over low heat. Once the mixture starts heating up, stir and smoosh the dates with the back of a spoon until it is soft like a jammy paste. It doesn’t have to be completely smooth. Put aside to cool.

Get the pastry from the fridge and place it on a piece of baking paper. Place another sheet of baking paper on top and roll out to a rectangle about 5mm thick. Get it to about 30cm x 21cm. I trim the pastry so its a neat-edged rectangle. Chuck the scraps on top of the neat rectangle and gently roll them in so you have no waste, but are left with a even flat rectangle with straight edges. This is all easier than it sounds as you can’t “overwork” this paleo pastry like the regular stuff.

Remove the top piece of paper and cut the rectangle lengthways into thirds (so each third is approximately 30cm x 7cm). Divide the date jam into thirds. Take a third of the date mix and spread along the centre of a piece of the pastry along the 30cm length, from short end to short end, leaving the long sides clean, so you can seal once rolled.

Using the baking paper to help you, gently roll the pastry around the filling, squeezing gently as you go, leaving the seal underneath. Slice the “snake” at 5cm intervals and place on cookie sheet or baking paper on oven tray. Repeat this with the other 2 pieces.

Bake for 20 minutes until golden. Cool on tray.

Makes 18.


For the pastry…

  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1 cup arrowroot starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons honey

For the filling…

  • 1 cup deseeded and roughly chopped dates
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 7 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch sea salt