Need a New Go-To Cookie Recipe? Enter: Oatmeal Date Shortbread Cookies

A recipe for oatmeal date shortbread cookies, excerpted from the cookbook Smitten Kitchen Keepers: New Classics for Your Forever Files, by Deb Perelman

This combines two of my favorite types of cookies: classic tender, buttery, perfect-every-time shortbread cookies, and oatmeal raisin cookies. Honestly, I was just playing around, trying to see how many oats I could stuff into a slice-and-bake shortbread and still keep the cookies delicate and somewhat melting in your mouth. But they came out so good, and disappeared so fast, I had to make them again, and then again. They’re making a good case for becoming our new House Cookie, the kind of moderately sweet, not-too-heavy treat I might even make on a weekday, if asked nicely. They’re easy; you don’t have to plan a whole lot or buy any special ingredients. I used dates when I ran out of raisins, and found that I vastly prefer them here; they’re tender and even more harmonious with butter, brown sugar, and vanilla.

Oatmeal Date Shortbread

Makes 30 to 32 cookies


  • 1½ cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons (80 grams) packed light-brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (8 ounces or 225 grams) unsalted butter, cold for food processor or stand mixer, room temperature for hand mixer
  • 1⅓ cups (130 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup (140 grams) chopped, pitted dates
  • About ½ teaspoon (but, please, just eyeball it) finely grated orange zest


  • You can make a variation like this: Oatmeal, Date, and White Chocolate shortbread: reduce the dates to ⅔ cup, and add 1 cup (6 ounces, or 170 grams) chopped white chocolate when you add the dates. this is our second-favorite way to make the cookies—delicious, but sweeter and slightly less delicate.
  • For a prettier cookie, beat 1 egg until it’s blended and brush it over the cooled cookie log, then roll the log in coarse or turbinado sugar before slicing.


In a food processor or stand mixer: Combine the flour, sugars, and salt. add the vanilla and cold butter in chunks, and blend (in a food processor) until the mixture is sandy and no chunks remain; or beat (in a stand mixer) until the butter is fully blended into the flour. add the oats, dates, and orange zest, and mix until everything is combined and the dough looks a little clumpy.

With a hand mixer: beat room-temperature butter, sugars, and salt together in a medium-to-large bowl until light and smooth. add vanilla, flour, oats, dates, and orange zest and beat until combined; the mixture will seem crumbly.

Divide the dough in half, and transfer each to a 9-by-13-inch piece of parchment paper. Draw up the sides of the paper over one half of the dough, press the dough from the outside of the paper into a tight log, and then roll the extra paper up around it. repeat with the second half of the dough, forming another log. Chill the logs until they’re firm, about 1 hour in the fridge or 20 minutes in the freezer.

Heat the oven to 350°f (175°C). Unwrap each cookie log, and use the parchment to line a large baking sheet.

Carefully cut each log with a sharp serrated knife into ½-inch slices. if the slices break apart, just squeeze them back together. arrange them on the prepared baking sheet(s). the cookies will barely spread.

Bake them for 12 to 14 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to get golden brown. Let them cool slightly before transferring the cookies you don’t eat immediately to wire racks to cool.

The dough log can be made ahead and stored, wrapped in plastic, for 1 week in the fridge, or 1 month in the freezer. baked cookies keep in an airtight container for 5 days, or so I’ve heard.

Smitten Kitchen Keepers

Excerpted from Smitten Kitchen Keepers: New Classics for Your Forever Files. Copyright © 2022 by Deb Perelman. Photography copyright © 2022 by Deb Perelman. Book Design by Cassandra J. Pappas. Jacket Photography by Deb Perelman. Food Styling by Barret Washburne. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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