Klaicha – Date Filled Cookies

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  • Vegetarian
    Vegetarian
  • Vegan
    Vegan
  • Dairy Free
    Dairy Free
  • Gluten Free
    Gluten Free
  • Egg Free
    Egg Free
  • Nut Free
    Nut Free
  • Soy Free
    Soy Free
  • Processor
    Processor

I was volunteering in my mum’s school kitchen a while ago, and the children made these phenomenal gluten-free date cookies called Klaicha as part of their Middle Eastern-themed gourmet charity lunch. These children are cooking delicious recipes that are bursting with flavor and nutrition. Judy, the cooking teacher, finds the most exotic recipes that never fail to impress. This charity lunch was no exception. The menu was mouthwatering: dips and home made flat breads, Moroccan pasties, unbelievable tagines, and delectable salads. The Middle Eastern fruit salad and home made cultured yogurt was absolutely to die for, as were these Klaicha cookies.

Just like the delicious red cabbage salad I posted some time ago, these scrumptious cookies are a wonderful little treat I have cooked up with the proud little cooks in the Burwood Heights school kitchen.

Klaicha cookies are a national treat from Iraq. They press them into special molds similar to tabis, but we just pressed them with the prongs of a fork. I have modified our original recipe and used Rapadura sugar to sweeten the dough, and used rice, tapioca and buckwheat flours to make these treats gluten free and more like shortbreads. You could also use some sorghum flour instead of some of the rice flour. That worked really well too. But sorghum is not as readily available as rice flour. So I have posted this simple version to make it easy for everyone. I did make some yummy versions using almond flour, which is a more nutritious alternative, but I found it a bit overpowering for Klaicha, and was too much of a departure from the personality of the original cookies.

Now, this is not the healthiest recipe I have posted! But they are tiny. Yes! We will tell ourselves that as we surreptitiously grab for a second or third; or dare I say it, a fourth! I challenge you to stop at just one! These cookies are gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soy free and nut free. If you eat dairy, you could always use butter. The best thing about these date-filled cookies? They are super easy to make! I just threw everything in the food processor.

These klaicha cookies are absolutely incredible, and the many friends I served them to in Melbourne unanimously agreed. I hope you will enjoy a taste of something a bit different.

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Klaicha – Date Filled Cookies

Klaicha – Date Filled Cookies

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1 cup brown rice flour

1 cup white rice flour

1 1/2 teaspoon xanthan

pinch of Celtic sea salt

½ cup rapadura sugar

250g / 9 oz vegan spread like Earth Balance or Nuttelex

3 teaspoons pure rose water

¼ cup filtered water

Date filling

250g / 9 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) pitted dates

2 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan buttery spread

  1. Sift flours and xanthan into a mixing bowl and combine well. Add in the sugar and mix evenly.
  2. Cut room temperature butter into small pieces and rub into flour with fingertips until distributed evenly. I do this in a food processor and just keep pulsing until the butter is evenly distributed and there are no clumps. Don’t walk away and leave the machine on or you will end up with a butter ball.
  3. Mix the rose water with the filtered water and sprinkle onto flour mixture. Pulse again to form a firm dough and then knead lightly until smooth. Cover the dough with cling film and rest for about 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile make the filling – Chop the dates and then gently heat them on low with the butter, stirring until the dates have softened, about 5 – 10 minutes, depending on your dates. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. Roll the dough into small round balls about the size of a large walnut or tablespoon.
  6. Flatten each ball like a pancake in the palm of your hand and place a teaspoonful of the date filling in the center. Fold over the edges of the dough to close over and cover the date filling. Roll the dough back into a ball with your hands. This can be a bit tricky if you fill the balls with too much filling.
  7. If you want to be really traditional you can press each ball into a special Middle Eastern carved mold similar to a tabi. Alternatively, (which is the way I did it) press each side of the ball with a fork to indent, slightly flatten, and then press the sides of the balls to round up, before placing on a baking sheet.
  8. Bake in the oven at about 160 C / 325 F oven for 30 minutes until lightly browned.
  9. Allow the cookies to cool on the tray as they will firm up and get a little bit more crispy. Store in a sealed container for use later – if they last that long. It is pretty hard to stop at one!

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