Satisfy your sweet tooth with Grandma’s Date Cookies. Soft and chewy with a delicious swirl of dates and chopped pecans, these golden treats are simple to make and perfect for any occasion.

Date cookies on a sheet pan.

Grandma’s famous date cookies are tender, rich and absolutely irresistible. They are a mix of buttery cookie dough and sweet, decadent date nut filling. Each bite is just slightly crisp on the outside and soft and chewy in the center for the perfect texture. Even if you don’t think you like dates, give these a try, you will adore them in this dessert.

Don’t be intimidated by the pinwheel design! The recipe instructions are straightforward and easy to follow. Make your basic buttery brown sugar cookie dough and roll it up with gooey date filling and chopped pecans. Chill the cookie dough log, then slice and bake for the most incredible, old-fashioned cookie.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Wonderful nostalgic flavor: Just one taste and I’m immediately transported to my grandparent’s small but super cute house. It didn’t have to be a special occasion, Grandma’s cookie jar was always stuffed to the brim with delicious date pinwheel cookies!
  • Festive & fun: The swirl of dates looks so pretty and adds a lovely caramel-like flavor for extra depth and richness. These make such a great holiday cookie!
  • The best texture: You will love the slight crispy exterior with the chewy inside and the gooey date filling! These are guaranteed to be a hit!
  • Reliable recipe: My grandma baked this cookie recipe often, for over 50 years! When I made it this past Christmas, it was just as wonderful as I remembered.

Some of the best tried and true recipes come from my grandma! Her tuna salad is seriously one of the best recipes out there, and we enjoy her pecan pie and green bean casserole every Thanksgiving. When it comes to cookies, you will love her chewy, vintage date cookies with a fun pinwheel design! Give them a try and watch them fly off the table!

Closeup view of cookies with a date swirl.

Ingredients needed

This date cookie recipe uses simple baking ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your pantry. Here are some notes about the ingredients used. The measurements and full instructions can be found in the recipe card below.

  • Flour: All-purpose flour is best for a deliciously tender crumb. 
  • Baking soda: Ensures these have just enough lift while baking.
  • Salt: A small amount of salt will enhance the flavor of both the dough and the filling.
  • Unsalted butter: Use unsalted butter to control the amount of salt in the recipe. Also, be sure your butter is softened to room temperature, so that it combines properly with the sugars.
  • Sugars: Use a mix of brown sugar and granulated sugar for the perfect texture and sweetness. The brown sugar will add a warm, caramel-like flavor and plenty of moisture. Light brown sugar works fine, but use dark brown sugar if you prefer a stronger molasses taste. 
  • Egg: One egg to bind the ingredients and provide structure.
  • Vanilla extract: 1 tsp vanilla for depth of flavor.
  • Dates: You can use any variety of dates, we really love the rich, almost caramel-like taste of Medjool dates. Deglet Noor dates have a more delicate, less rich flavor.
  • Water: For simmering the dates to make the filling.
  • Pecans: Adds a nutty crunch to the filling that complements the soft and sticky dates. Use chopped walnuts or almonds, if preferred.
Flour, dates, sugar, egg, butter, pecans and vanilla in small bowls.

How to make this recipe

Other than making the date filling and rolling the dough into a log, this date cookies recipe is just as easy to make as your average cookie. Here’s how simply these come together:

  1. Dry ingredients: Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
  2. Wet ingredients: In a separate bowl, cream the butter with 1/2 cup granulated sugar and the brown sugar in a large bowl with a hand mixer or stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add in the egg and vanilla, and continue mixing until well blended.
  1. Combine wet and dry ingredients: On low speed, gradually stir the flour mixture into the creamed ingredients until well incorporated, without over-mixing. Stop the mixer while beating the batter and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to help mix it properly.  
  2. Chill dough: Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

Making the filling

  1. Make the date filling: Meanwhile, add the chopped dates, remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar and the water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to low heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  1. Add nuts: Once the dates have cooked down to the consistency of paste, remove the pan from the heat and fold in the chopped pecans. Set aside to cool.
  1. Roll and chill: Use a rolling pin to roll the chilled dough out on a lightly floured piece of parchment or wax paper to a 12×8-inch rectangle. Spread the cooled date mixture on the dough to within about 1/2-inch of the edges. Starting at one of the long ends, begin to carefully roll the dough into a log. Wrap the rolled dough in the wax paper and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
  1. Bake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Unwrap the log of dough, and slice 1/4-inch slices with a sharp knife. Place slices on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes.
  2. Cool: Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets for about 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Baking tips

Check out these simple tips, so your pinwheels turn out perfect every time you make them!

  • Don’t over-mix the dough: Over-mixing leads to more gluten developing in your dough which can lead to a tough or dry cookie. Only mix the batter until the flour is just incorporated and no streaks remain.
  • Chilling the dough twice: It’s important to chill the dough before rolling it out and also once it’s rolled into a log. If you don’t refrigerate the dough before rolling it out, it will be too soft and sticky to roll. Chilling it again in the log will make it easier to cut clean slices.
  • Adding the nuts: Be sure to add the chopped pecans after the date filling is done cooking. This will ensure that the pecans stay as crunchy as possible.
  • Spreading the date paste: Spoon the paste onto the center of the rolled out rectangle of cookie dough and use a butter knife or offset spatula to spread it out to within about 1/2-inch of the edges. You want to leave some space around the edges, so the filling won’t seep while baking.
  • Size and shape: When slicing the cookie dough log, try to make slices that are even and of the same thickness, so they all cook evenly. Use your fingers to shape them into a round circle, so they look pretty once baked.

Room temp ingredients

Softened butter is cool to the touch (about 65°F) and will indent slightly when pressed with your finger. Take butter and eggs out of the refrigerator about 1 hour before beginning the recipe. If you forget, here’s a guide on how to soften butter quickly. For room temp eggs in a hurry, place in a bowl of warm (not hot) water for 10-15 minutes.

Frequently asked questions

How do you prepare dates for baking?

For this recipe, you’ll be making a date paste by heating them with water and sugar, which will soften them and turn them into a paste-like consistency.

Do I have to add the date filling?

Although, I haven’t actually tried it, I think these would work fine to chill once and then drop spoonfuls on a cookie sheet and bake without the filling.

What spices go well with dates?

These cookies aren’t spiced, but if you’d like, you can certainly add in about 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and a dash of ground ginger and nutmeg.

Storage recommendations

You can freeze the dough or baked cookies for a quick snack at a moment’s notice! Here are tips for freezing and how to keep your leftover cookies fresh!

  • Freezing the dough: Once you’ve sliced the cookie dough log, place slices on a parchment-lined pan and flash freeze for about 30 minutes. Then, place them in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough slices for an extra minute, no need to thaw. 
  • Make ahead dough: If you are wanting to prep just several days ahead, you can keep batter (before adding the date filling or the log of dough after adding the date filling) in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Freezing baked cookies: Once completely cool, store in a freezer-safe container or baggie, and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Storing leftover cookies: Leftover cookies will keep in an airtight container or zip-top bag for about 1 week at room temperature. For storage up to 2 weeks, keep them in the fridge.
  • Reheating: To make the cookies taste freshly baked, warm them in the microwave for about 25 seconds.
Pinwheel cooking on a baking sheet.

If you try this recipe, leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.

Date cookies on a sheet pan.
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Grandma’s Date Cookies

Satisfy your sweet tooth with Grandma's Date Cookies. Soft and chewy with a delicious swirl of dates and chopped pecans, these golden treats are simple to make and perfect for any occasion.
Author: Kim

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch for the date filling
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup (110g) brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces (approximately 1 cup, 177g) fresh dates, pitted and finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup (28g) chopped pecans

Instructions 

  • Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
  • Cream the butter with 1/2 cup granulated sugar and the brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add in the egg and vanilla, and continue mixing until well blended.
  • On low speed, gradually stir the flour mixture into the creamed ingredients until well incorporated, without over-mixing. Stop the mixer while beating the batter and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to help mix it properly. 
  • Chill dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, add the chopped dates, remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar and the water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to low heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the dates have cooked down to the consistency of paste, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chopped pecans. Set aside to cool.
  • Use a rolling pin to roll the chilled dough out on a lightly floured piece of parchment or wax paper to a 12×8-inch rectangle. Spread the cooled date mixture on the dough to within about 1/2-inch of the edges. Starting at one of the long ends, begin to carefully roll the dough into a log. Wrap the rolled dough in the wax paper and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Unwrap the dough, and slice 1/4-inch slices with a sharp knife. Place slices on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets for about 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

  • Freezing the dough: Once you’ve sliced the cookie dough log, place slices on a parchment-lined pan and flash freeze for about 30 minutes. Then, place them in a freezer-safe baggie for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough slices for an extra minute, no need to thaw. 
  • Make ahead dough: If you are wanting to prep just several days ahead, you can keep batter (before adding the date filling or the log of dough after adding the date filling) in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Freezing baked cookies: Once completely cool, store in a freezer-safe container or baggie, and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Storing leftover cookies: Leftover cookies will keep in an airtight container or zip-top baggie for about 1 week at room temperature. For storage up to 2 weeks, keep them in the fridge.
  • Reheating: To make the cookies taste freshly baked, warm them in the microwave for about 25 seconds.
Serving: 1cookie, Calories: 107kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 13mg, Sodium: 37mg, Potassium: 62mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 12g, Vitamin A: 92IU, Vitamin C: 0.04mg, Calcium: 9mg, Iron: 0.5mg

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