iraqi date cookies (klechia - كليجة)

Kleicha – Date Cookies (كليجة)

Nadia Cookies, dairy free, Desserts, gluten free, sugar free, Sugar-free, Sweet Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian 54 Comments

iraqi date cookies (klechia - كليجة)

Kleicha – Date Cookies (كليجة)

Last year I made a healthier version of my favourite cookies – Kleicha (كليجة) which are Iraqi date cookies that are traditionally served on Eid (A religious holiday to celebrate the end of the month of Ramadan where muslims fast from sun rise to sun set for a whole month). Even though I loved the version I made last year, I wanted to outdo myself by making an even better and healthier version!

iraqi date cookies (klechia - كليجة)

I grew up eating Kleicha. It was my favourite sweet treat and definitely my favourite cookie. Date paste spiced with cardamom and cinnamon wrapped in a crumbly pastry, what’s not to love?! These Iraqi date cookies are similar to ma’moul, also date cookies popular throughout Middle Eastern countries but the dough is slightly different. Of course I’m going to be biased and say I think the Iraqi version is so much better! 

So to make the dough for last year’s kleicha, I used a mixture of wholemeal flour and spelt flour, which resulted in a dough which was slightly on the bready side. This year, I decided to make a gluten-free version, so I’m using a mixture of ground almonds and rice flour the result of which is much closer to the traditional recipe. I’m so pleased with the way they’ve turned out!

As well as being gluten-free I also made sure these cookies are dairy free so everyone can enjoy them. I used honey to help the dough stick together but they can easily be made vegan by substituting with another form of liquid sweetener like rice syrup or date syrup. 

Who’s celebrating Eid this year? And do I have any Iraqi readers?

Eid Mubarak to those of you celebrating xx

iraqi date cookies (klechia - كليجة) iraqi date cookies (klechia - كليجة) iraqi date cookies (klechia - كليجة)

Kleicha - Date Cookies (كليجة)
Serves 18
Write a review
For the dough
  1. 1 cup (100g) ground almonds
  2. 1 1/4 cup (140g) rice flour
  3. 1 tsp salt
  4. 6 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  5. 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) maple syrup or honey
  6. 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  7. 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  8. 2 tbsp milk (any type you prefer)
For the date filling
  1. 1 cup (140g) dates
  2. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  3. 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  4. 1 tsp cocoa powder
  5. 1/4-1/2 cup (4-8 tbsp) water
  6. Sesame seeds to top
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the ground almonds, rice flour, salt and spices.
  2. Add the melted coconut and honey. Mix until well combined
  3. If the dough is not sticking together and looks crumbly, add milk, 1 tbsp at a time. I found that 2 tbsp of milk was perfect.
  4. Place in the fridge and leave to chill for 30-60 minutes
For the date filling
  1. Add the dates, spices and cocoa to a pan and pour in the water - the amount of water will depend on how dry your dates are. I used fairly dry dates so I added around 1/2 cup of water, but I would suggest adding a little at a time. Heat the pan and start mashing the dates with the back of a wooden spoon. Continue adding water until you have a smooth, but still thick and sticky mixture. You want it to be just thin enough to spread.
  2. Preheat your oven to 180*C (160*C fan assisted)/ 350*F
  3. Take the dough out of the fridge and place it on a piece of parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment paper on top and start rolling out the dough into a ¼" thick rectangle.
  4. Spread the date filling over the dough leaving the edges clear.
  5. Now start rolling! Take one side of the dough and use the parchment paper to roll the dough into a log.
  6. Using a sharp knife, slice into 1 inch thick pieces.
  7. Carefully transfer the cookies onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top.
  8. Bake for around 20 minutes or until the tops of the cookies are golden brown.
  9. Leave to cool completely, then enjoy!
  1. I like to store mine in the fridge - they taste so much better in my opinion and the texture is so much better as well 🙂
UK Health Blog - Nadia's Healthy Kitchen

You may also like these cookie recipes

Tahini Almond Cookies – by Natural Kitchen Adventures

Peanut And Chocolate Chunk Cookies – by Rough Measures

Speculaas spiced date cookies – by Family Friends Food

Share This Post

Comments 54

  1. These look amazing!
    Could I use normal or wholewheat flour instead of rice flour as I only need them to be dairy free!

    1. Thank you Megan 😀 You could try plain or wholemeal flour, I haven’t tried it myself but they should work 🙂

  2. Wow, these look delicious. Not made anything like this before rolled up and I love the idea of them being both gluten and dairy free!

    1. They’re so good Ceri, admittedly not as good as the traditional unhealthier (but not too unhealthy :P) cookies. Dates and cardamom are so perfect for each other!

    1. Thank you Mary 😀 you should see how quick my husband and I go through them 😛 but it’s ok to have two (or five!) because they’re healthy 😛

    1. Yay! So glad you found me 😀 I hope you try making the kleicha, if you do you have to let me know how it goes! Eid Mubarak to you too! 🙂

  3. Hey! Nadia, they look amazing! I am gonna try them this eid! I bought all the ingredients. But little confused about whether to put cocoa powder in date and water mixture or in the dry ingredients?please let me know:-) and Eid Mubarak! To you and your family!

    1. Hi Momina 🙂 yay fantastic! The cocoa goes into date mixture, sorry if that wasn’t clear. I’ve amended the post so there is no more confusion 🙂 You’ll have to let me know how it goes! Eid Mubarak to you too and your family 😀

      1. Hey! Nadia!… thank you for answering my question:-).. they are in the oven right now.. the only issue I had was the dough was breaking alot and I dont know how they will turn out because when I rolled it started breaking. Any ideas on how to fix this problem.. I will appreciate it alott:-) I am sure they will taste great! just worried about the shape and cut

        1. Hmm…did you let the dough chill in the fridge? Because there is no eggs in there the dough can be quite fragile but when it’s cold it’s so much easier to handle. How did they turn out?

          1. Turned out the yummiest cookies me and my husband ever had! They were bigger than the ones in the picture but still tasted great! I guess practice
            will make it perfect!
            Thank you Nadia:-) you are amazing! Posted the picture on instagram

          2. That’s fantastic Momina! I’m so so pleased you and your husband liked them 😀 The first time I made this recipe they didn’t turn out as good so yeah, practice definitely makes perfect 😀

  4. There are beautiful Nadia!I’ve never tired Kleicha before, but they sound amazing. I looove dates, and all of the spices they’re mixed with sound delicious. I can’t believe they’re so healthy too. I definitely need to try these! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Harriet 😀 they’re my favourite cookies ever! 😀 dates and cardamom are the perfect match! Hope you do try them 🙂

  5. These are currently baking in the oven & they smell so good!I’ll let you know how it tastes when the cookies finish cooking. Quick question: do you have an ebook full of Iraqi/ middle eastern cuisine? If not, will you be making one?

    1. Fantastic! How did they turn out? Hope you enjoy them 😀 I don’t have any Middle Eastern ebooks, but you’ve just inspired me to create my own! 😀

  6. I am so glad I came across this recipe! My boyfriend used to live in Iraq and he grew up eating these. I think if I make these healthier date cookies he will be very happy! 🙂

  7. Pingback: Ten aromatic cardamom recipes | Foodies 100

  8. Oh, I’m so excited to make these. I used to make these for Ramadan and we ate them at iftar (instead of plain dates), but when we moved, it was one recipe that didn’t come with me (I can’t even imagine why! Well, most of our house didn’t come either.) I’m now gluten-free and will be making them tomorrow to get ready for Ramadan. Thank you so much and I look forward to exploring your blog more.

  9. These came out wonderfully! I love cardamom and Middle Eastern desserts. The crumb of the kleicha is delicate and the sweetness just right, a very elegant cookie. I will make these again. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe.

    1. Thank you Reem 🙂 Kleichas are the best! 😀 you’ll have to come back and let me know what you think of them once you’ve tried them!

  10. Ooo Nadia. I actually have a kulicha recipe on my fridge… but a regular version that I make so hubby feels like he’s at home! ☺ I love your healthy version – it’s one recipe I’d not yet considered making healthy (as it wasn’t something I’d grown up with). Thinking I might go and make these now (Eid’s a bit of a wait)! Thank you!

  11. I am planning to make these for my Iraqi student to celebrate Eid next week. I will let you know if he says they taste anything like what he would have had back home.

    1. Post

      I haven’t tried oat or chickpea flour to make this recipe so I can’t say for sure if they would work. Different flours behave differently – they absorb different amounts of fluid and give different textures. If you do try either of them let me know how it turns out! 🙂

  12. Hi
    Thank you for a great recipe! I have always loved and baked date cookies and since I moved to gluten free these are the cookies that I miss the most. I made these and they turned out to be really good. Straight from the fridge like you suggested. I wanted to ask if you ever tried to bake them in one piece and cut after. This is what I usually do with regular flour.

  13. Hi! I love these soooo much.
    Just one thing- I follow your instructions to a T and roll them like u said but I never get 18… Any idea why? I’m completely baffled….

    1. Post
  14. Just made these cookies, the taste is amazing. Love that it is gluten free and refined sugar free. Very easy to make. Thank you so much for this recipe!

    1. Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.