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Armenian spice cookies filled with dates and peanut butter

…yes, I said peanut butter.

You’re probably thinking what the…?! Peanut butter is not a staple in Armenian pantries but I assure you that dates and peanut butter pair quite nicely, especially as a filling in these Armenian spice cookies. You can make these cookies with just the base, sans filling, as well.

I have fond childhood memories of these cookies. Mom used to make these cookies au nature, and also with variation of fillings: dates + walnuts, mixed nuts + cinnamon-sugar, dates + cardamom, raisins, etc. Any way you make them, they’re absolutely delicious paired with chai tea, espresso, or Armenian coffee.

Cookie-base

2-1/2 cups A/P flour
½ cup fine semolina
¾ cup sugar
¾ tbsp baking powder
½ tsp each: ground cinnamon, cloves, mahlab, nutmeg
Dash sea salt

2 eggs
1 cup milk
½ cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven 3250F. Prep middle rack and parchment-lined sheet pan.

Measure and add all dry ingredients into a large bowl. Whisk together the liquid ingredients; fold wet and dry ingredients together.

Bring the cookie dough together and make a boule. Wrap in plastic wrap, allow to rest in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the date and peanut butter filling.

Date and peanut butter paste filling

1-1/2 heaping cups dates, chopped
¼ cup peanut butter, or more to taste
2 tbsp orange honey
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Place all ingredients in heavy duty mixer. Process until mixture becomes a pasty ball. Wrap in plastic wrap, place in refrigerator, until ready to use.

Forming the cookie
On a clean work surface, using a rolling pin, roll out the date and peanut butter paste to about 4” x 12”; set aside.
Roll out the cookie dough into a rectangular 12” x 15” or a bit larger pending on how thick you want to cookie.

Place the date and peanut butter paste roll at the closest edge of the 12” rectangular cookie dough, and roll, jelly-roll style.

Place seam-down, then cut ¾” thick slices, and place each slice face up on parchment-lined cookie sheet.

Bake in preheated 3250F oven for 15-18 minutes or until top is lightly golden.

Remove from oven. Place them immediately on cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before storing.

Store cookies in plastic wrap, in refrigerator.