Date, Halvah, and Chocolate Chunk Cookies

February 19, 2017

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: A twist on the basic chocolate chip cookie, these have dates two ways (both in the batter and chunks in the cookies), complemented by halvah and chocolate. recordsintheden

Food52 Review: WHO: recordsintheden’s Butternut Squash Brown Porridge was a contest finalist earlier this year—and now she’s back!
WHAT: Chewy chocolate chip cookies, with a little somethin’-somethin’.
HOW: Sweeten up cookie dough by incorporating softened dates, then mix in chocolate chunks, halvah crumbles, and more dates (this time, chopped).
WHY WE LOVE IT: Folding date pieces into cookie dough is a smart move for adding pockets of caramelly squishiness to thin cookies. But mixing plumped-up dates into the dough itself—they practically melt!—imbues every inch of the cookies with an almost butterscotchy sweetness that’s balanced by the slightly savory halvah.
The Editors

Makes: about 30 cookies
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 20 min

Ingredients

  • 9 Medjool dates, pitted, divided
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 bar (80 grams) bittersweet or milk chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 120 grams halvah, roughly chopped
  • Flaky sea salt, for topping
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, add 4 of the Medjool dates and cover them in hot water. Let stand for 5 minutes to soften. Drain.
  2. In large bowl or stand mixer, mix the sugar, butter, and softened dates. Once the butter and sugar are combined (but not yet light and fluffy), add the egg and vanilla, and mix to combine. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can combine with a fork in a bowl or gently cream in a blender. It won’t mix like in a stand mixer, but it’ll get the job done. (NOTE: If using the blender, I recommend only mixing about half of the sugar with the butter at first—all the white sugar and 1/4 cup of the brown. Then add the vanilla to continue roughly blending, and then transfer to a large bowl and mix with the rest of the sugar and the egg with a fork or whisk.)
  3. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and a tiny dash of salt. Add these dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and pulse the mixer until just combined. I recommend adding 3/4 of the flour first and then gradually adding the rest.
  4. Once you have the batter, add the chocolate, halvah, and chopped remaining dates. Again, I recommend adding 3/4 of the goodies and then gradually adding the rest. You don’t want the halvah to get too smashed up. [Editors' note: We suggest adding the halvah last if you'd really like to preserve its texture.]
  5. Line a plate or baking sheet that you can fit in your refrigerator with parchment paper. Use a spoon to scoop up medium-sized cookies. I rolled them in my hand to form a ball just a bit larger than a golf ball. Once all the cookies are formed, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 20 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C).
  6. If you haven’t already done so, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the chilled cookies about 2 inches apart. [Editors' note: Our cookies spread quite a bit! We'd recommend spacing them 3 1/2 or 4 inches apart if you don't want this result.] Be sure your baking rack is on the lower rack. Bake for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown (you can smell fresh cookies awaiting). You can always toothpick test the center, but these are chewy not cakey cookies, so it’s okay if the center is a tiny bit underdone.

More Great Recipes:
Cookie|Middle Eastern|Chocolate|Date|Milk/Cream|Bake|Fall|Spring|Summer|Winter|Dessert

Reviews (15) Questions (0)

15 Reviews

Mirielle C. January 3, 2018
Did anyone try making these without halvah? Thinking of replacing with the same weight of a different kind of chocolate, using tahini in the dough, or mixing in sesame seeds. Thoughts
 
Author Comment
recordsintheden January 3, 2018
Hi Michelle! I don't know if I'd exactly 'replace' because the thing with halvah is that in addition to the tahini/sesame component it has sugar or honey or some type of sweetener. I'm no scientist but my guess is that when I mix the halvah into the cookie dough, some of it crumbles up and when baked, that means there's extra sweetener in the dough that's added based on the singular and already processed halvah. Halvah is also solid when added to the dough whereas tahini would be more liquid-y. I think if you didn't want to add halvah, you could test it with various additions of honey+tahini (premixed together before adding to the dough), but keeping in mind that these are liquids and could make the dough very wet, changing the structure of the cookie substantially. If you wanted something less sweet you could try making the recipe without the halvah and just adding a tablespoon or so of tahini. You'd probably still get that nice sesame flavor without compromising the structure of the cookie too much, it might just not have the sweet tones that the halvah gives.<br /><br />Let us know how it goes! :)
 
Mirielle C. January 10, 2018
I replaced it with tahini and that worked well! I was baking during a snow storm and didn't have halvah, so was glad to have a substitute :) Thanks for the recommendations!
 
Author Comment
recordsintheden January 11, 2018
awesome! sounds like a perfect indoor day activity ;)
 
FondueVoodoo June 11, 2017
These are killer cookies! Similar to Momofuku milk bar cookies in texture, and the taste is complex - sweet & salty soft and chewy. I rolled mine into balls and froze them up for later baking...perfect for holding off baking until needed. Thanks for sharing!
 
Author Comment
recordsintheden June 11, 2017
So glad you liked them!!! :)
 
chez_mere May 26, 2017
Made these yesterday and they are a HIT in the office. A couple notes: I chilled my dough for approximately 30min before rolling it into balls and baked it on an ungreased cookie sheet. Mine did not spread much at all (certainly no where near what they look like in the pictures) but they are delicious nonetheless. I would bake them for 2min less or so next time because I like a chewier cookie over a crispy one.
 
Author Comment
recordsintheden May 26, 2017
Awesome! Thanks for sharing and glad you enjoyed :)
 
Ginny S. April 2, 2017
How long will these keep in an airtight container? In order to preserve texture, would you recommend adding the chocolate, dates and halvah by hand, rather than pulsing in a mixer?
 
Author Comment
recordsintheden April 2, 2017
Yes I'd recommend adding the chocolate, halvah and date mixture by hand. :)
 
Ginny S. April 2, 2017
What about how long they will keep?
 
Author Comment
recordsintheden April 2, 2017
Hm good question! Mine usually don't last long because I love cookies (and take them to friends when I bake) :) probably similar to the average shelf life of a chocolate chip cookie.
 
Ginny S. April 2, 2017
How long will these keep in an airtight container? In order to preserve texture, would you recommend adding the chocolate, dates and halvah by hand, rather than pulsing in a mixer?
 
Anat April 1, 2017
These sound so great. Definitely will be baking these!
 
Author Comment
recordsintheden April 1, 2017
Thanks! Hope you enjoy :)