These spiced date walnut rolls make a great quick and easy dessert to enjoy as a snack, healthier dessert or sweet treat to serve to guests. I’ve been making them on repeat recently, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. A lovely mixture of sweet/fudgy dates and crunchy/nutty walnuts.
I made these date & pistachio rolls last year – they went viral! I have to admit that out of all the recipes I put together last year, they were by far my favourite creation. I would even go as far as saying they’re probably one of my favourite treats that I’ve ever made.
Although a very simple recipe, the combination of the fudginess from the date + the crunchy, nuttiness from the walnut creates something moreish and satisfying. These spiced date walnut rolls make a great snack or healthier post meal treat to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Why I love making these spiced date walnut rolls:
Dates are still a fairly new food addition to households in the UK. Not long ago they were only eaten during Christmas time, if at all. With the rise of healthy eating on social media and more people using dates as a healthier substitute to sugary snacks, it seems they’ve gained a lot of popularity in the last few years.
However, in the Middle East where I grew up, dates have been a staple food for thousands of years. They’re an essential part of the diets in most Muslim countries. It’s what most Muslims break their fast with during the holy month of Ramadan.
I’ve eaten my fair share of dates. Growing up in Iraq (the fifth largest date producers in the world) meant we had access to dates, not just one type, all kinds of different types of dates. They were seen as a treat, especially post first Gulf war when Iraq was under sanctions and most (including my family) couldn’t afford other treats like chocolates, biscuits, etc.
I still hold dates dear to me. They’ll always have a special place in my heart and a permanent place in my kitchen! I always (ALWAYS) have dates in my house. I snack on them regularly & use them a lot in my recipes.
These spiced date walnut rolls tick all the right boxes for me:
- They’re easy to make
- Made with wholesome ingredients
- Made with only a handful of ingredients (3 main ingredients + spices)
- Quick to prepare
- You can make them in batch
- They last a long time
- They’re fudgy & chewy
- They contain 2 of my all time favourite ingredients – dates & cardamom!
What you need to make these spiced date walnut rolls:
Dates – Medjool dates or other soft varieties work best to create a smooth, malleable mixture. I always use Palestinian Medjool dates because they’re sweet, fudgy and really soft. If you’re using a dry date variety, you’ll need to soak them in hot water for 10 minutes to soften them.
Walnuts – To add some nuttiness, healthy fats as well as a lovely crunch. I toasted them first to help release their natural oils, plus bring out their flavour. I folded them into the date mixture. I also blended some to coat the outside of the rolls. If you want a nut-free version, feel free to use sesame seeds instead (they’ll still taste just as good!).
Coconut oil – When I made the date & pistachio rolls last year, I used 2 tbsp of tahini to help soften the dates. This time I used coconut oil. You can use either or. I just used a little to help soften the dates as they cooked, which will help with moulding the mixture into a log before slicing into rolls.
Spices – I used a mixture of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg to add warmth as well as flavour to my rolls, but this is completely optional. You can change the spices around depending on your likes or what you have available in your cupboard.
Salt – Just a pinch goes a long way in bringing out all the key flavours.
How to make these spiced date walnut rolls:
Dry toast the walnuts in a pan for 5-7 mins.
Roughly chop 100g of the walnuts to use in the filling. Blend the remaining 50g into a fine crumbs in a food processor to use later for the coating.
Add the chopped dates + coconut oil to the same pan used for toasting the walnuts. Heat while mashing with the back of a wooden spoon until you have a smooth paste.
Take off the heat, then fold in the spices, salt & walnuts.
Roll out into a long log over a piece of baking paper, sprinkle the ground up walnuts onto the baking paper. Roll the long over it to coat.
Freeze for 30-60 mins to make it easier to slice.
Slice into discs & enjoy.
How to store your spiced date walnut rolls:
You can store them at room temperature in an air-tight container or in the fridge. I prefer eating them cold from the fridge. They also freeze well for up to 3 months.
These spiced date walnut rolls are:
- Can be made nut-free (sesame seeds are a great substitution for the walnuts!)
- Easy to make
- Only call for 3 main ingredients
- Easily adjustable to likes/dietary needs
- Made with wholesome ingredients
- A source of fibre & healthy fats
- And absolutely delicious!
Spiced Date Walnut Rolls
- 150g walnuts divided
- 400g Medjool dates* I used these Palestinian dates
- 2 tbsp coconut oil or tahini
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- Dry toast the walnuts in a pan for 5-7 mins.
- Roughly chop 100g of the walnuts to use in the filling. Blend the remaining 50g into a fine crumbs in a food processor to use later for the coating.
- Chop the dates, then add to a pan along with the coconut oil. Use the same pan used for toasting the walnuts. Heat and mash with the back of a wooden spoon until you have a smooth paste.
- Take off the heat and fold in the spices, salt and walnuts.
- Roll out into a long log over a piece of baking paper, sprinkle the ground up walnuts onto the baking paper and roll the long over it to coat.
- Freeze for 30-60 mins to make it easier to slice.
- Slice into discs and enjoy.