Baking 140-Year-Old Date Filled Oatmeal Cookies Recipe (+Video)

I recently stumbled upon a real gem, a recipe for date-filled oatmeal cookies dating all the way back to 1882. These old-fashioned oatmeal cookies offer a unique combination of textures and flavors. Imagine a chewy oat cookie with a hint of crispiness at the edges, paired with a sweet and gooey date filling that’s reminiscent of caramel.

oat cookies with dates filling

Oh, and just so you know, I found this recipe on Reddit. If you’re curious, you can check it out here!

Alright, get ready to indulge in this classic delight and whip up a batch of these oatmeal date cookies!

Ingredients For Date Filled Oatmeal Cookies

bowl of rolled oats and bowl of dates
  • 2.5 cups pitted and chopped dates
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups brown sugar (divided between the date filling and the cookie dough)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup room-temperature butter
  • 1/2 cup lard, (pork fat) also room temperature (or just use 1 cup of butter if lard is not available)
  • 1/2 cup sour milk (I’ll tell you how to make this below)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups oats (quick oats or rolled oats)
  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour

Let’s Get Baking: Date-Filled Oatmeal Cookies

Get ready to whip up a batch of these irresistible, old-fashioned date-filled oatmeal cookies with the straightforward instructions below. Also, don’t forget to watch the video recipe below for a visual guide.

Step 1: Making the Date Filling

making the date filling

Let’s start with the heart of these cookies – the date filling.

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of boiling water with our chopped dates, 1 cup of brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons of flour. Stirring continuously, bring this mixture to a boil.

Once boiling, reduce the heat and let it simmer until it thickens about 15 minutes. You might want to check out my video below for this step to see the perfect consistency for the date filling.

Step 2: Making the Cookie Dough

making the date filling

Now, in a separate bowl, let’s cream together 1 cup of brown sugar with butter and lard. If you’re not a fan of lard or can’t find it in the supermarket, no worries – just using butter works great too. Mix until it becomes fluffy and creamy.

creamed lard and butter and sugar

In the recipe video below I am actually only using butter as I just could not find lard anywhere. But if you want to make authentic date-filled oatmeal cookies then use lard.

Step 3: The Sour Milk Twist

add sour milk

In another bowl, mix half a cup of sour milk, half a teaspoon of baking soda, and salt. The sour milk adds such a unique tanginess – a secret ingredient if you will! Combine the sour milk mixture with our creamy butter and lard blend. Stir well – you want every bit of it mixed together.

Top Tip: If you don’t have sour milk, and these days, who does, there’s no need to worry! You can easily make your own by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to a cup of regular milk. Stir it and let it sit for about 5 minutes. This quick-made version works just as well.

Step 4: Combining It All

mixing in one cup of oats

Next, stir in 2 cups of oats. I did use quick oats which gave the cookies that perfect chewy texture but regular rolled oats are also fine.

mixing in oats and all purpose flour

Finally, gradually add 2 and a half cups of all-purpose flour to form a dough. If the dough feels too dry, add a bit more milk; if it is too wet, sprinkle more flour. It’s all about that perfect balance. Check the recipe video below for how the dough turned out.

Step 5: Shaping the Oat Cookies

shaping the oat cookies

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and let’s shape these oat cookies.

Roll the dough into equal-sized balls and place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Gently press each ball to flatten.

Step 6: Filling the Cookies

adding the date filling

Spoon a tablespoon of our thickened date filling onto the center of each flattened oat cookie. Then, cover each with another flattened piece of dough.

date filling inside the oatmeal cookie

Seal the edges of the cookies well – we don’t want any of that delicious date filling escaping!

Step 7: Baking Time

baking the date filled oatmeal cookies in the oven

Bake these date-filled oatmeal cookies for about 10 minutes in preheat oven at 350°F (175°C). You’ll know they’re done when they turn a lovely golden brown, and your kitchen is filled with an aroma that’s just heavenly.

freshly baked date filled oatmeal cookies

Voilà! Your batch of date-filled oatmeal cookies is ready! These cookies are a treat with their chewy texture and caramel-like sweet date filling. It’s a beautiful dance of flavors and textures in every bite.

My Ideas for Substituting Ingredients

Quick Oats Vs Rolled Oats

rolled oats
Rolled oats

The original recipe for these date-filled oatmeal cookies, hailing from the year 1882, doesn’t specify the type of oats to use in this recipe. Given the era, it’s likely that rolled oats were intended, known for their chewy texture and robust oat flavor.

However, I opted for quick oats in my version, and the result was quite delightful. Quick oats, being finer and more processed, led to a softer texture in the cookies, making them pleasantly smooth and allowing the sweet date filling to really shine through.

So, whether you select traditional rolled oats for their hearty, chewy texture or prefer quick oats for a gentler, softer feel, the cookies will retain the classic and comforting taste and texture originally envisioned in this 140-year-old recipe.

All Purpose Flour Vs Oat Flour

oat flour
Oat flour

Another idea I have for those wanting to make these date-filled oatmeal cookies gluten-free is to use gluten-free oats along with gluten-free oat flour in place of regular all-purpose flour.

While I haven’t tried this substitution in this particular recipe myself, I would imagine that using oat flour would yield a more cohesive texture, with a subtle, complementary oat flavor throughout the cookie.

This swap could enhance the overall oat experience, potentially making the cookies even more delightful for those sensitive to gluten.

Butter Vs Lard

block of lard
Block of lard

As I mentioned earlier, the original recipe for these oat cookies calls for lard, and although I ended up using extra butter due to difficulty in finding lard, I’d recommend sticking with lard if you’re aiming for authenticity.

Using lard, as suggested in the original recipe, can certainly give an interesting and unique taste and texture to the cookies. Lard typically makes the cookies flakier and can add a unique depth of flavor that’s subtly different from butter.

It’s worth trying at least once to experience the authentic taste and texture as it was intended back in 1882.

For anyone else having trouble finding lard, I’ve got some good news! I eventually discovered it at my local Lidl. So, if you’re on the hunt for some lard, Lidl might just be your go-to spot to find this elusive ingredient.

Sour Milk Vs Kefir

cup of kefir
Cup of kefir

Instead of sour milk, you can also use kefir as a suitable alternative. Kefir does a great job because it gives your recipes a similar taste and texture. It’s got that tangy flavor that adds a nice kick to your dishes and a creamy consistency that’s just like sour milk.

How To Store These Oat Cookies?

To keep your homemade date-filled oatmeal cookies fresh, store them in an airtight container at room temperature, where they’ll stay good for up to a week. If you’re stacking them, use parchment paper between layers to prevent sticking.

For longer preservation, you can freeze the cookies in airtight containers or freezer bags for up to 3 months, and just thaw them at room temperature when you’re ready to enjoy them again.

Check Out Also: Moist Banana Oatmeal Cake Recipe with a Chocolate Twist!

Old Fashioned Date Filled Oatmeal Cookies Recipe

Recipe by Jen Evansy
5.0 from 2 votes
Course: DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


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Cooking time




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These 140-year-old date-filled oatmeal cookies have a taste that’s a mix of sweet and caramel-like, making them delicious. The texture is just right – not too hard and not too soft. The oat cookie part is chewy with a slightly crispy edge, and the date filling in the middle is gooey and smooth. These cookies are a perfect combination of flavors and textures that have been enjoyed for generations. This recipe yields approximately 10-12 oat cookies, with a suggested serving size of 2 cookies, making it suitable for about 5 servings per batch.

Cook Mode

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  • Dates Mixture
  • 2.5 cups pitted, chopped dates

  • 1 cup boiling water

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons flour

  • Cookie Dough
  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • ½ cup room-temperature butter

  • ½ cup room-temperature lard

  • ½ cup sour milk

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 2 cups oats

  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour


  • Prepare Date Filling:
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the chopped dates, boiling water, 1 cup of brown sugar, and flour. Stir continuously and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until the mixture thickens. Set aside to cool.
  • Make Sour Milk:
  • Combine ½ cup milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar. Stir and let it sit for 5 minutes until it curdles.
  • Prepare Cookie Dough:
  • Cream together 1 cup brown sugar, butter, and lard until fluffy.
  • Mix baking soda, salt, and sour milk. Add to butter mixture and stir well.
  • Gradually mix in oats.
  • Add flour in parts, stirring continuously, until a solid yet workable dough forms. Adjust with extra milk or flour if necessary.
  • Assemble Cookies:
  • Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Roll dough into balls and flatten on a parchment-lined baking tray.
  • Spoon a tablespoon of date filling onto each flattened cookie.
  • Cover with another flattened piece of dough, sealing the edges.
  • Bake for about 10 minutes until golden brown.
  • Let the cookies cool and enjoy their chewy texture with sweet, gooey date filling.

Recipe Video

Nutrition Facts

  • Total number of serves: 5
  • Calories: 480kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 220g
  • Protein: 16g
  • Fat: 48g

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In Summary

So, there you have it – our flavorful journey through time with these iconic date-filled oatmeal cookies dating back to 1882! Whether you’re savoring the traditional lard-infused version or embracing the buttery twist, these cookies are a delectable tribute to culinary history.

Also, if you’re someone who enjoys baking with oats, don’t stop here! For oat enthusiasts like you, I recommend trying out my sweet potato and oat cookies recipe here. It’s a wholesome, and delightful snack that only needs two ingredients. Check it out now!

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About Jen Evansy

Nutritionist, researcher, avid home cook, and writer interested in everything nutrition and food-related. Striving to inform, encourage, and inspire all the readers to make healthy and informed choices when it comes to cooking, food, diet, and nutrition.