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Shortbread Date Bars

Introducing Mabrousheh Bil Tamer, the best shortbread date bars you will ever have, using Medjool dates in date-paste form, making the most delicious, naturally sweetened filling for these bars.


  • Date Paste
  • 30 Medjool dates, pitted
  • Warm water
  • 1 tablespoon anise powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Dough
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon ma’amoul spice


  1. To make the date paste, add 30 Medjool dates that have been pitted and chopped into a bowl and cover with warm water for 15 minutes to soften. Then, remove excess liquid and add the softened dates to a food processor with a tablespoon of anise powder and a teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Mix until you have a date paste.
  2. To make the dough, mix 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, ½ cup of granulated sugar, and 2 sticks of melted unsalted butter until it becomes a pale yellow.
  3. Add 3 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 tablespoon ma’amoul spice, and mix together until you have a cohesive dough. You can do this by hand or with an electric mixer with a paddle attachment.
  4. Reserve half the dough to be grated as the topping of the bars and the other half spread out at the bottom of a lightly greased 9 by 13 baking pan. The reserved dough should be shaped like a disc and covered in plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for 15 min so it is easier to grate.
  5. Top the dough at the base with the date paste filling evenly, leaving just half an inch untouched around the sides.
  6. Grate the frozen reserved dough over the top until covered or some specs of date paste is shining through. It will have a streusel look.
  7. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes at 350 F and broil the top if needed. Let it cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar before slicing and enjoying!

*While Medjool dates are high in natural sugars, they are low on the glycemic index thanks to a balanced amount of soluble fiber. The complex carbohydrates found in Medjool dates are digested at a slower rate, making them a source of dietary fiber and releasing energy to the body over a longer period of time.