Saudi Date Cookies (Al-Harrisah)

This cookie epitomizes Saudi Arabia for most of us: A large country with a huge desert, lots of date trees and tons of oil. It is also the country where the Prophet Mohammed  صلى الله عليه وسلم  was born and where he spearheaded  one of the world’s largest  religions.

No baking required!


  • 12 ounces of good quality dates such as mejdool or deglet noor, pitted
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter or ghee
  • 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 4 ounces of toasted walnuts (or any other nuts you like-optional)
  • 1 generous teaspoon of ground cardamom

For the optional garnish: a handful of chopped pistachios, or a handful of unsweetened shredded coconut, about 1/2 cup of syrup to help the garnish adhere to the cookie (optional).


  1. Place the dates in a food processor bowl.
  2. Heat a skillet on medium heat, add the butter and let it foam; ad the flour and stir till the flour is toasted and cooked (as if making a roux for gumbo); add the walnuts and cardamom and stir a few seconds and place the entire mixture in the food processor.
  3. Process till the mixture is pasty. Dump the paste into a bowl and  start shaping the cookies.
  4. Using a cookie scoop or a spoon, shape into balls and dip in the syrup a bit then into the pistachios or coconut. Serve.
  5. These cookies will keep for at least a week tightly sealed in the fridge.

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  1. Posted March 4, 2010 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Bravo. I was a little intimidated with the original quantities posted for this, I thought it was a lot more oil? I’m going to try the meat dish next week, it intrigues me….

  2. Posted March 4, 2010 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Very elegant date bites…
    I like the way you rolled them in pistachoes to give a vibrant color and flavour of course

  3. Posted March 4, 2010 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    I love that there’s no baking required – a perfect recipe for me! And the cookies are so scrumptious!

  4. Posted March 5, 2010 at 1:30 am | Permalink

    Wow how easy!!Looks so delish!!!

  5. Posted March 5, 2010 at 1:50 am | Permalink

    Such an energy booster to enjoy without any guilt…looks fabulous!

  6. Posted March 5, 2010 at 2:17 am | Permalink

    very pretty cookies,havent tried using dates but would love to try it soon…thanks for sharing

  7. Posted March 5, 2010 at 4:27 am | Permalink

    I love those! Yours look very pretty!



  8. Posted March 5, 2010 at 4:54 am | Permalink

    They’re gorgeous

  9. Posted March 5, 2010 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    These are basically the same thing as Larabars and the raw food donut holes that healthy food bloggers everywhere have been making! I love that they have roots in an actual cuisine. They look delicious.

  10. Posted March 5, 2010 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    These look great! Traditional South African cooking has something similar, called “Date Balls”. The SA version includes crumbled biscuits and coconut instead of cardamom and walnuts.

  11. Posted March 5, 2010 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for visiting! I’m so excited to find your blog. I love learning new ways of cooking through different cultures. I’ve added your RSS feed to my Google reader. I’m looking forward to your future posts! :)

  12. Posted March 5, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Hi Joumana, your photography is just sensational, and I also love the new look of your blog, congrats! Have a lovely weekend!

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  13. Posted March 5, 2010 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Love the recipe..will give this a try

  14. Posted March 5, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    I love dates but I’ve never had these cookies — they’re going on my “to-make” list right now. They look incredibly delicious!

  15. Posted March 5, 2010 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    I’ve heard so much about them but never made them. Thanks for sharing. I love dates by the way :) Same as my son… I actually have to hide them because he won’t anything else if he sees dates… :)

  16. Posted March 5, 2010 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    I love no-bake cookie recipes. Glad to find your blog where I can learn more about Lebanese food. Thanks for visiting me ^_^

  17. Posted March 5, 2010 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    These look great!

  18. Posted March 6, 2010 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    I think I’d like them….I love cardamom. They looks very elegant

  19. Posted March 6, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    These look amazing Joumana!

  20. Posted March 6, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Mince, hier j’ai failli acheter des dattes mais j’ai eu peur de ne pas savoir qu’en faire à part les manger comme ça. Si j’avais vu ta recette avant, je les aurais sûrement prises, ça a l’air bon!
    Gros bisous

  21. Posted March 6, 2010 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Hi Joumana, these date cookies look so easy to make. I love dates, and I suppose this is a raw food too. A friend of mine from North Africa always says that the prophet Mohammed (salaam w salaat) loved dates!

  22. cmiranda
    Posted March 7, 2010 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the recipe.I’ll try surprising my boyfriend with these next time i see him.He’s from KSA.

  23. Posted March 7, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    I love dates. They are such a treat. Nice for the wamr weatehr too.

  24. Posted March 8, 2010 at 12:49 am | Permalink

    Such a sweet treat. So easy to make too.

  25. Posted April 25, 2011 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    It’s my first visit on your blog and I am amazed by your recipes. They looks so delicious. I will go back!

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