Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper.
To make the dough, in a mixer fitted with the flat attachment, mix the flour, baking powder, margarine and oil at medium speed to a crumbly consistency. Add the water, and mix until the dough is smooth, soft and not sticky (if it is sticky, add a little flour, and if it is dry, add a little water).
To make the filling, mix the date paste with the cinnamon and cloves, and set aside.
Divide the dough into 5 equal parts. Roll each part out on a floured sheet of parchment paper to a 10 x 12-inch (25 x 30.5-cm) rectangle, about ⅛-inch (3-mm) thick. Spread a thin, even layer of the seasoned date paste on each dough rectangle. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts and—if you want the halva flavor—drizzle with the raw tahini and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. With the help of the parchment paper under the dough, roll into a roulade.
Put the roulades spaciously on the prepared baking sheets. Slice into 1 ¼ -inch (3-cm) slices—make sure you don’t cut all the way through (the slices should remain attached at the base). To make slicing easier, you can put the unbaked roulades in the freezer for a few minutes (see the “Grandma Knows Best” section below).
Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden (the cookies are supposed to remain quite light in color). Let cool completely, and cut into individual cookies following the slicing marks. Keep in a closed container at room temperature.
GRANDMA KNOWS BEST Because slicing is done before baking, I like to freeze the roulades for 20 minutes first, for a sharp and elegant result.
Excerpted from Traditional Jewish Baking by Carine Goren (Page Street Publishing Co.: 2016)