Date and Walnut Cookies Recipe (2024)

Recipe from Schuyler-Brown Homemakers Extension

Adapted by Florence Fabricant

Date and Walnut Cookies Recipe (1)

Total Time
2 hours
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This recipe comes from “Treasured Recipes Old and New 1975,” a community cookbook by the Schuyler-Brown Homemakers Extension in Iowa Falls. It was contributed by Wilma Miller, who credits the recipe to her great-aunt. Ms. Miller wrote that the original recipe called for two pounds of walnuts, but that she prefers it with pecans “and not that many.” That makes sense. Mixing in even a pound of nuts requires the arms of a sturdy farm wife. The recipe yields enough for an entire church supper. —Florence Fabricant

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Yield:6 to 7 dozen cookies

  • cups/350 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1teaspoon/5 grams salt
  • 1teaspoon/3 grams cinnamon
  • ½teaspoon/1½ grams ground cloves
  • 8ounces/2 sticks/227 grams soft unsalted butter
  • cups/300 grams light brown sugar
  • 3large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1tablespoon/13 grams baking soda
  • 1pound/450 grams chopped pitted dates
  • 1pound/450 grams chopped walnuts or pecans
  • Confectioners’ sugar

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (78 servings)

110 calories; 6 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 1 gram monounsaturated fat; 3 grams polyunsaturated fat; 13 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram dietary fiber; 8 grams sugars; 2 grams protein; 59 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Date and Walnut Cookies Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line one or more baking sheets with parchment. Place flour in a bowl and whisk in the salt, cinnamon and cloves. Set aside.

  2. Step


    Cream butter and brown sugar together by hand or in an electric mixer. Beat in eggs. The mixture will not be smooth. Dissolve the baking soda in 1 tablespoon hot water and stir it in. Stir in the dates and nuts. The batter will be heavy and not easy to mix. Work in the flour mixture, about a third at a time. If your electric mixer has a dough hook, use it for working in the flour.

  3. Step


    Scoop heaping teaspoons of batter onto prepared baking sheet or sheets, making craggy mounds about 1½ inches in diameter. Space them about 1½ inches apart; the cookies will not spread very much. (Alternatively, for neater cookies, you can roll the batter into balls between your palms, then lightly press them down with the back of a spoon or the tines of a fork.) Allow to sit at room temperature 30 minutes to 1 hour before baking. Depending on the size of your oven and your baking sheets, you can form the cookies ready to bake on sheets of parchment paper on your countertop, then transfer them to baking sheets in shifts.

  4. Step


    Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until nicely browned. Let cool, then dust with sifted confectioners’ sugar. If you plan to freeze some of the cookies, do not dust them with confectioners’ sugar; wait until after they thaw.



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Cooking Notes

Patti in Poughkeepsie

Halved the recipe, used 2 eggs. Substituted pastry flour and organic sugar. Result: chewy, moist, mmmmm.


I halved the recipe, using 2 full eggs, and used pecans. I brought them on a hike and handed them out to my fellow hikers. A very successful reception, including a request for the recipe. Even my husband, not a dessert person, liked them because they are not over-sweetened -- most of it comes from the dates.

Jim in Edmonton

I threw in an extra egg after reading Patti's comment. I also added a handful of dried cranberries. Loved the result.

Joyce Newman

I made these and sent them by mail to a couple of people at Christmas and they loved them. A plain, nicely spicy homey cookie.


What's the purpose of waiting for 30min to 1 hr before baking?


I used ground cardamom in place of clove powder and it was delicious! Pairs well with tea!

Mary O

My Grandma’s version of this cookie is my absolute favorite cookie ever! Hers used 1 cup shortening... which I still use... and 1 tsp vanilla w/no cinnamon. One tsp soda instead of a Tbls. Always 3 eggs! And we’ve only ever used pecans. Turns out wonderful every time! Not everyone’s favorite because of the clove I think... but still mine!!

Julie C

I made these tonight. I also halved the recipe but only used 1 egg and they turned out fine. They have a great depth of flavor and the chewiness is wonderful. I used pecans but walnuts would be great as well. I only cooked for 12 minutes.

Linda Werner

I made 1/2 the recipe, used walnuts, replaced 1/2 cup of the flour with 1/2 cup of chopped oats. I scooped only 1 teaspoon of dough making a mound that I did not flatten when placed on the parchment paper. I let the prepared dough 'balls' sit for 30 minutes prior to baking. The cookies did not spread and cooked in 12 minutes. I am very pleased with the outcome.


I made them today, following exactly the recipe. The cookies are delicious. In my opinion, they just need a little bit of acidity. Next time I'm going to put some lemon or orange zest. thank you


I think the recipe needs a bit more of sugar (mind you, I am not a sweet teeth...). Also, I made my cookies slightly smaller than suggested and they baked in 10 minutes; the suggested baking time may be too long. As a suggestion, check the cookies after 10 minutes, just in case...


The spice and chewiness of the cookie is delightful!I decided to brown the butter which added a toastier profile to the result, and added ginger and nutmeg on top of the cinnamon and clove. Also threw the spice mixture into the sugar so when I poured the warm butter over, it helped bloom the spices a bit as well.


I always bake by weight using metric. In this recipe, 350 grams of flour translates to almost 3 cups of flour (120 grams per cup), not 2 1/2. Has anyone tried this by weight instead of volume? Something seems off.


Just made my second batch and it was well received. The second batch I added orange zest and switched the clove seasoning for the cardamom and I think this was the favoured of the two


My mother and her sisters had a layer cake recipe handed down from their mother that was very similar to this. In addition to the dates and walnuts, it also had raisins and was frosted with a delicious caramel icing. It was always a Christmas favorite. I haven’t made it in several years but might now, or I might try this recipe and top it with that caramel icing.


You could add more dates and it would be an improvement. A little heavy on the nuts but good.


Have to say, these were just great. Yes, more homey/rustic than showy & gorgeous, but yummy. Warning: this recipe yields A LOT. And it's work. The batter's thick.Ground my cloves in spice grinder; the freshness made these a real spice cookie. I melted butter by mistake trying to soften it—maybe made the cookies spread a lot, but they were fine.Used 3/4 c almond meal. Could've used more.Could use less brown sugar, too. Maybe 1 cup?Baked for 13–14 minutes.I will make these again!


Made half recipe but used 2 eggs. At 14 minutes they got darker than I expected and I made the cookies much larger than called for. They were kind of homely so make sure to dust them w the sugar. Everyone loved them.


These were delicious. Sinfully good.


These doooo spread, lots. Maybe I didn’t let the dough rest enough?Make them very smallDelicious!


Why do the cookies have to sit for 30 minutes before baking? How do you handle multiple batches? You can't leave out that much dough out for over an hour, so do you keep putting init in the fridge and then waiting another half-hour to bake each dozen?


My grandmother (who was from Michigan) made a version of these cookies with Crisco. She made them like refrigerated cookies (rolled logs, chilled and sliced). We’ve made them with butter, but Crisco is better. Delicious cookies! Glad to see a version of their recipe here.

Rachel Unger

I didn't have enough dates so I did a mix of dates, figs, and raisins. Also added the zest of an orange to my brown sugar and a bunch of orange blossom water as well for more fragrance. Would definitely make again!

Cynthia D

These are tasty if you like dates, which we do. I skipped the powdered sugar on top and subbed shortening for butter, cardamom for cloves, and toasted pecans for raw walnuts. I baked them in flattened mounds of about 1T apiece for 15 minutes. Yield was about 7 dozen. These are very homey, more of a "for the family" cookie than a "for company" cookie.


I feel like the reviews of this cookie are quite measured - but we LOVED them. Cut recipe in half, used 2 eggs, walnuts, no powdered sugar. Did not add clove but did add ginger and some vanilla. I'm sure if your platonic ideal cookie is a classic, sugary choc chip type, you might find this plain, but if like me, you can hardly eat those very sweet cookies, this is heaven. The dates are so jammy and the nuts are toasty. Mine were done in 13-14 min.

Barbara McCarthy

Perfect recipe if you normally like Oatmeal Raisin cookies and you have a dog. Raisins are toxic to dogs- dates are fine in moderation.


Or all almond flour 2 and 1/2 cups


Or use all almond flour 2 and 1/2 cupsUse dates and raisins- what ever you have

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Date and Walnut Cookies Recipe (2024)


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