Chewy Cranberry Date Cookies

I have a weakness for dates and I’m not sure why. My mother made a few things with dates but it was never a star ingredient. I always assume my body has some vitamin deficiency which dates must fulfill.

While shopping at my favorite Asian market last week, I noticed a package of Iranian dates. At first, I was taken aback from the relatively inexpensive price (less than $2 for 11 ounces). When I touched the bag, I knew I was on to something good. They felt so moist and tender.

I brought the bag home and have been nibbling on individual, chewy dates. For some reason, I always think of dates in cookies. The chewy, moist texture the dates lend to baked goods in one I associate with cookies more than other baked goods.

Date Cookie Recipe Ideas from Around the Web

Fearing I might finish the dates before I actually made any cookies, I sent out a tweet for date cookie ideas. Most people offered date bar recipes with one suggestion for an incredible looking date nut pie.

Unfortunately, the ideas didn’t satisfy my itch for cookies so I continued my hunt. I puttered around online and until I found a basic oatmeal date cookie recipe from Gourmet circa 1998.

In my pantry, I also had an orphaned 1/4 cup of dried cranberries which I decided to add to the cookies and figured they would lend a tart contrast, color, and more texture. To lighten the sweet thickness for which dates are known, I also added a teaspoon of fresh lemon zest to lighten things up.

In the end, I am pleased with the chewy, rich cookies which resulted. The lemon zest worked wonders and the cranberries went nicely with the dates. Unfortunately, the cranberries didn’t visually stand out as much as I had hoped they might.

Chewy Date Cookies with Dried Cranberries

Chewy Cranberry Date Cookies Recipe
adapted from Gourmet

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large beaten egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 cup chopped, pitted dates
1/4 cup dried cranberries

  1. In a medium-sized pot, melt butter over medium heat, then remove pan from stove.
  2. Add brown sugar to butter, stirring until smooth.
  3. Add flour, baking soda, and salt to butter mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Add egg, vanilla, lemon zest, rolled oats, dates, and cranberries and stir to combine.
  5. Drop by spoonfuls onto a silpat-lined (or can use parchment) baking tray. I used a cookie scoop to speed along the process.
  6. Bake at 375F (190C) for 18 minutes or until golden.
  7. Cool on a wire rack then store in airtight container.
Chopped Dates and Cranberries
Silpat Lined Tray with Date Cookies

The cookies will be crisp on the edges and chewy in the middle. After storing in an airtight container for a few hours, the cookie moisture will distribute evenly through the container making each one super-chewy.

Joe (who isn’t a sweets lover) ate several of these in one afternoon. While eating the first one, he exclaimed, “These would make a really good hostess gift the next time we are invited to someone’s place for dinner.” He might be right. So, who want’s to invite us over and try out these cookies?

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  1. It is always good to have a healthy cookie recipe too. These cookies not only cover that criteria, but it also scores high on the “delicious-factor”

  2. love being surprised by what i find just hitting your website wondering where you are ;0) really enjoying the photos of late too!

  3. Oh, how these speak to me! Cranberries and dates and oats!! In fact, I am working on a new post for my blog ( with just these elements. My Cranberry Date Bars are like a new age date square, singing with fresh orange zest and the gentle perfume of orange blossom water, a beautiful pairing with the dates and cranberries, with something faintly Iranian about the sweet sludge. The date filling is bracketed by a wholesome whole wheat and oat cookie crust sweetened only with honey and with just a small dash of canola oil, so the bars are low in fat and free of white sugar, if that matters to you. My recipe is one I found when I worked as a baker at a funky little cafe and I have never ever seen its equivalent anywhere. Honestly, you will LOVE my bars. Want the recipe?!

  4. me too me too me too me too me too!!!! I used to hate dates when I was little while my mom kept making me to eat them or water date soup or date water!
    but then I totally fell for dried dates. dunno why, the sweetness is totally different from the ones I had when I was little.
    now, i make cake with these. never tried cookies though. it’s time now! :P

  5. I’m going to try adding lemon zest to my oatmeal cookies next time! These look so good. If only there was a way to preserve those crispy edges.

  6. Oh, but food for the gods is awesome :) But fair enough on the fact they’re not cookie-ish enough… And these look quite toothsome, so I’m glad you got your fix! You sure shop at Asian markets a lot… I knew there was a reason we are friends ;)

  7. I have a weakness for dates too. And I’ve come across some wonderful Iranian ones too! They’re irresistable! These cookies look perfect.

  8. I share your love of dates as well, and these are by far my favorite use for them:

    The salty peanut butter combined with the spicy cinnamon and sweet date make for a really delicious and unique flavor. (Don’t be dissuaded by the source, I certainly wouldn’t call these “healthy” by any stretch of the imagination)

  9. The recipe is great! Chewy and delicious.

    The only comment I have is that I think the 375 is too high a temperature for this recipe. They started to get too brown on the bottom while the top wasn’t fully cooked. I had to turn the temperature down to 325 for the last 7 minutes or so to make sure they would cook through… It MAY just be my oven, but I haven’t had that problem before when baking cookies at 350.

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