Semolina and date bars

Semolina and date bars

The Art Of The Larder
Mike Lusmore

These are loosely based on the Lebanese ma’amoul biscuits, which use traditional wooden moulds to shape the dough. I’ve rolled the biscuit dough and cut it flat, rolling it round the filling and making more of a log or a bar than a cookie or a biscuit. I’ve also added tahini, which complements the sweet, sticky date filling.


Quantity Ingredient
75g fine semolina
200g self-raising flour, plus extra for rolling (or use plain flour with 1/2 teaspoon baking powder)
A pinch salt
50g ground almonds
50g caster sugar
50g unsalted butter
50g tahini (or use more butter)
2 tablespoons rose water or orange blossom water
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
caster or icing sugar, to dust

For the date filling

Quantity Ingredient
500g soft dates or figs
100g unsalted butter, cubed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom


  1. Mix the semolina, flour, salt, ground almonds and sugar in a bowl. Gently melt the butter, add the tahini and rose water, then pour this into the bowl and rub through with your fingers until it looks a bit like wet sand (alternatively, you can carefully pulse the mix in a food processor).
  2. Add the egg and gently form into a ball, then cover and leave for 1 hour so the semolina swells and softens.
  3. Make the date filling by blending the dates with the butter and spices until smooth. Chill the mix in the fridge to firm up, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Lightly flour a work surface and also your rolling pin, and roll out the dough 5mm thick to a strip about 40cm long and 20cm wide. Cut this into four 10 x 20cm strips.
  5. Divide the filling into four and form each piece into a 20cm long sausage-shaped piece. Place one along the centre of each piece of dough. Roll the dough around the filling, then crimp or pinch tightly along the edge to seal each shape.
  6. Roll the logs through the sesame seeds and slice each into four. Place on a baking tray.
  7. Heat the oven to 200°C and bake the rolls for about 15–20 minutes, until the edges and top turn golden brown.
  8. As soon as they’re out of the oven, sprinkle them with the caster or icing sugar and cool on a wire rack.
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