These fat little marbles are my variation of the classic ghraiba cookie from Tunisia. Dates and sesame are ingredients that are used a lot in Tunisian baking. So I kneaded some sesame seeds through the dough, filled the cookies with finely chopped dates and rolled them through some extra sesame seed. I like the crunch the sesame seeds give the dough. And when you bite through the crumbly crust you find a soft sticky date filling inside. The ghraiba cookie is originally made with chickpea flour but if you can’t get hold of that for this cookie, you could just use plain flour or wholemeal flour instead. But it is worthwhile to take a trip to the health food shop and buy a little packet of the nutty flour. It does make these sesame date balls taste special.
Sesame date ball
For about 15 cookies
90 grams (½ stick + 2 tbsp) butter
120 grams (1¼ cups) chickpea flour (or plain flour)
45 grams (⅓ cup) flour
pinch of salt
50 grams (½ cup) icing sugar
100 grams (8 tbsp) sesame seed
(sesame oil if required)
12 Medjool dates
Melt the butter in a pan and leave to boil softly on low heat until the white milk solids turn light brown.
Sieve the chickpea flour, the flour, the salt, and the icing sugar in a bowl. Add the melted butter and 25 grams (2 tbsp) of sesame seed and knead into slightly crumbly dough. If the dough is too crumbly to shape, add a little sesame oil.
Form the dough into 15 balls. Take the seed out of the dates and chop finely. Form into 15 balls. Flatten the dough balls and place a date ball on top. Form the dough around the date filling into a ball and roll through the remaining sesame seeds.
Cover the cookies with cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for about 30 mins.
Preheat the oven to 130°C/275°F.
Put the cookies on a cookie sheet covered with baking paper and bake them in the middle of the oven for 15-20 mins. until they are done. They should not brown, but stay quite pale.
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