Granny's Date-filled Biscuits

    My dear granny used to make these biscuits when we were kids in Zimbabwe. They have a delightfully smooth, crispy, melt-in-your-mouth texture which contrasts wonderfully with the sticky, sweet date filling. They go very well with a cup of tea at 4 o'clock and I could never get enough of them :) This is quite a big recipe, but you can freeze half the dough and half the date filling and finish the biscuits at another time, they are just as good.

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    • 1/2 kg flour
    • 1/2 kg cornflour
    • 1/2 kg butter or margarine
    • 1/2 kg fine, white sugar (castor)
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 5 eggs
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
    • 250g dried dates, remove pips/stones and chop finely or mince in food processor.
    • 1 cup of brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup of water
    • 1/3 cup of butter or margarine
    • Lemon juice, about a dessertspoon


    1. Cream the butter and the sugar together until you have a fine paste.
    2. Sieve all the dry ingredients into the creamed mix. Add the eggs one at a time along with the vanilla essence. A strong cake mixer will cope with this dough, but it becomes quite stiff.
    3. Knead the dough thoroughly by hand.
    4. Coat several baking trays with butter.
    5. Take a small pinch of dough, about a heaped teaspoonful, and roll into balls the size of a pigeon's egg.
    6. Place dough balls onto baking trays, leaving at least 2cm between each ball.
    7. Flatten the dough balls with a fork dipped in flour.
    8. Bake at 200 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes until just starting to brown. They should increase in size up to 2/3 times and be pale in colour.
    9. DATE FILLING (prepare first and allow to cool)
    10. Boil all date filling ingredients together over a medium heat, until the consistency is thick and creamy.
    11. Allow to cool.
    12. Match up equal sizes and shapes of biscuits into pairs, spread about half a teaspoon of filling onto one half and press together until they stick.
    13. Store in an airtight container for up to one month.

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