This Italian date cookie started with an email. A reader named Sara asked me if I had the recipe for the date cookie on my Pinterest board that was from La Cucina Italiana Magazine.
I had pinned it when the American version of this magazine was still in publication. Sadly it closed down this year, but still thrives in Italy. Fortunately, I had a subscription and have the last five years of the magazine and I’ll never get rid of them. The recipes are accompanied by the most gorgeous pictures of modern classical Italian cooking. It’s the kind of food one will get at an upscale restaurant in Italy, yet presented with approachable recipes.
As I was halfway through the magazines, I found the recipe she was looking for and I got so excited to be able to email her back with this recipe. It was in the November 2010 edition.
These date shortbread cookies trimmed with sesame seeds are so very Italian, in that they are not too sweet, just perfect for my adult taste. Everyone loves them and they make a fantastic Christmas cookie!
This is not the date filled cookie called Cucidati, which is also a wonderful Sicilian cookie. I made that earlier in the week and you can find it here.
I was so excited about the ease of this Italian cookie, I made a video for you.
- 11 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- pinch fine salt
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out and reserved or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 large eggs
- ½ cup finely chopped pitted dates (about 8-9)
- 1¾ cups plus 3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour plus more for dusting
- ½ cup sesame seeds
- Special Equipment: parchment paper
- Mix salt and sugar together.
- Cream sugar, salt with butter until smooth.
- Add vanilla seeds, egg and dates.
- Stir in flour, just enough until combined.
- Divide dough into three logs. Roll each log in the sesame seeds. Wrap in plastic.
- Freeze for 30 minutes or longer.
- Slice about ¼ inch thick.
- You may need to cover each with plastic and pat down to make even. (see video)
- Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
- Bake rotating pan once halfway through until cookies are golden about 25 minutes.
- Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.