Pastry-like in texture and appearance, these cookies pair the intense sweetness of dates with the delicate flavor of almonds. The filling is enhanced by fresh orange zest and juice, as well as orange-flower water; look for the latter in specialty foods shops and Middle Eastern markets.
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), in small pieces
2 teaspoons orange-flower water (optional)
3 tablespoons ice water
3/4 cup dates, preferably Medjool, pitted
1/3 cup sliced almonds, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon milk
2 tablespoons honey
In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt, and half the zest; pulse to combine. Add butter; pulse until mixture is crumbly. Combine orange-flower water and ice water; drizzle over mixture. Pulse until dough just comes together. Chill, covered, for 20 minutes.
In a food processor, combine dates, almonds, remaining zest, and orange juice; pulse to coarsely chop.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Form dough into 1 1/2-inch-diameter balls; flatten into 3 1/2-inch circles. Place 1 heaping teaspoon date filling on each. Fold sides toward centers, making triangles; press to flatten slightly. Place pastries 2 inches apart on a baking sheet; press again.
Mix milk and honey; brush on pastries. Arrange 3 almonds on each pastry. Bake until golden, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer pastries to a wire rack; brush with glaze again. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.