Margaret's Date-Filled Molasses Cookies

This old, cherished family recipe was generously shared with us by our friend Mike Brown. His grandmother’s cookies are deliciously crisp on the outside, and the fruit filling is soft and chewy. We love them filled with dates, but you can easily substitute with finely chopped raisins. Either Sequoia or Organic Edison work very well, producing a nice cookie with a texture slightly resembling fig Newtons.

Prep Time

45 minutes (includes filling)

Bake Time

12-13 minutes

Total Time

1 hour 30 minutes


4 dozen


For the dough:

2½ cups (356g) Sequoia flour or 2½ cups (380g) Organic Edison flour

1 teaspoon (4.5g) baking powder

¼ teaspoon (2.5g) sea salt

½ cup (113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup (200g) granulated sugar 

½ cup (170g) molasses

1 (50g) egg, lightly beaten, at room temperature

1 teaspoon (4.2g) vanilla extract

Topping: turbinado sugar or demerara sugar, as needed

For the filling:

1 cup (200g) dates, pitted, finely chopped

½ cup (120g) water

½ cup (100g) granulated sugar

1 tablespoon (8.5g) Sequoia flour or 1 tablespoon (10g) Organic Edison flour

1 pinch sea salt

1 teaspoon (5g) unsalted butter

*Optional: 1 teaspoon (5g) lemon juice


  1. In a medium bowl using a whisk, blend the flour, baking powder and sea salt together.
  2. In a bowl of an electric stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar and molasses using the paddle attachment. Cream until pale and fluffy.
  3. In a small bowl lightly whisk the egg and add vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl and add the egg mixture into the butter/sugar mixture. Mix until light and well combined.
  4. Add the flour mixture and mix until well combined. 
  5. Split the dough in half and place half the cookie dough onto a lightly floured ½ sheet of parchment paper. Add another piece of parchment paper on top and roll out the dough to a ¼” thickness.
  6. Repeat with the remaining dough and place both cookie dough sheets on a sheet tray that fits into your refrigerator. Chill the dough for at least one hour or overnight. 
  7. Make the filling by adding the dates, water and lemon juice (if using) to a small saucepan.
  8. Mix the sugar, flour and salt together using a whisk and add to the saucepan.
  9. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to boil and thicken to a paste-like consistency. Add the butter and blend until smooth using a hand blender. 
  10. Remove the filling from the pot into a bowl to cool down. If making the cookies the following day, add plastic wrap to the top of the filling to prevent the skin from forming and place in the refrigerator.
  11. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325°F. Position the rack in the center of the oven.
  12. Prepare a few sheet trays lined with parchment paper or a Silpat.
  13. Take one sheet of dough out of the refrigerator and remove one side of the parchment paper. Lightly dust this side with flour so it does not stick when cutting. Put the parchment back over the dough and flip it over. 
  14. Remove the other side of parchment paper and begin cutting the cookie dough using a floured round cookie cutter (roughly 2.5-3” diameter) or a glass. Remove the excess dough and reserve to roll again. 
  15. Once the date filling has cooled, using a piping bag or a spoon, portion the date paste onto ½ of the cookie, leaving a small border around the edge.
  16. Fold the dough over on top of the date-filled side and crease the edges together using your hands. 
  17. Dip one half of the cookie in the turbinado sugar and place the cookie, sugar side up on the lined sheet tray spaced about 1” apart. Press the rounded edge down again using a floured fork to seal the dough together.
  18. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, turn the sheet tray 180 degrees and bake for another 3-4 minutes. The cookie should be lightly crispy on the edges and soft in the center.
  19. Once fully baked, allow the cookies to cool on the sheet tray for about 1-2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. 
  20. Repeat with the remaining sheet of cookie dough. 
  21. After all the cookie dough has been cut, gather the remaining dough from both of the sheets and roll out again. Repeat the same steps for cutting, filling and baking until you run out of filling or cookie dough.

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