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"Kilecheh" Date-Filled Assyrian Holiday Cookies 

The ancient Mesopotamians knew about 300 kinds of bread and pastries. The ancient recipe of the, "qullupu" or more commonly known as kilecheh has been kept for generations. Kilecheh making has always been a family affair, especially for the holidays. They are delicious--somewhat addictive--especially with a hot cup of tea or coffee.


Yield: 30-35 cookies


Traditional “kilecha” is usually made with clarified butter. The following is a much lighter version but yields equally delicious cookies. Amounts below can be doubled or tripled for various shapes and fillings.



½ cup powdered sugar

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 ½ softened unsalted butter

½ teaspoon baking powder

Optional: 1 teaspoon rose water



In a big bowl mix dry ingredients with the softened butter

Stir mixture in a circular movement to incorporate liquid into flour.

Then knead for about 5 minutes to form pliable dough of medium consistency.

Punch down, and use as directed below.


Filling (Date-filled)

2 (13 oz) packs of baking dates

1 teaspoon rose water or orange blossom water, optional


Shaping and Baking

Take a piece of dough size of a walnut and flatten it with the fingers into a disc. Put a heaping teaspoon of date filling in the middle of the disc. Gather edges and seal them well to prevent date from showing. Form into a slightly flattened ball, make a dent in the middle with the index finger, and shape a kind of border around the upper ridge of the flattened ball, by pinching with an upwards twist. Or if you have a wooden mold, put the stuffed piece into the concave, press, and tap out.

After filling and shaping the pieces arrange them on a greased cookie sheet, leaving a half-inch space between pieces. Bake them in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.



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