Thursday, January 15, 2009

Christmas Cookies - Date Pinwheels

Christmas is finally packed up, so before I file away my recipe cards again, I am finally posting the cookie recipe I brought to our cookie exchange. These date pinwheel cookies have been a special part of our family holiday for as long as I can remember. My mother got the recipe from my dad's Aunt Ruth. They are "effort cookies" as I need 2 days to get them made.

Filling:
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup ground walnuts
1 package (7-1/2 ounce) pitted dates, cut small
Boil all together until thick. Set aside and cool.
Note: I have often added more walnuts or more dates to the filling with a smidge more water.

Dough:
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
4 cups flour (I use 2 cups white all-purpose flour and 2 cups white whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream butter and sugar with a mixer in a large bowl, then add eggs one by one, beating until well mixed. In separate bowl, mix flour, soda, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk to mix well. Slowly add the flour mixture into the butter mixture, mixing well after each addition.

Divide dough into four parts. Roll out each piece of dough using a rolling pin between two large pieces of wax paper. I roll out the dough to be just less than the length of a cookie sheet and maybe 7-8 inches wide. I would guess that the dough is about 1/8 inch in thickness. I do a lot of "cut and paste" to get the dough fairly even all around the edges. Take off top piece of wax paper, spread 1/4 of the date filling as evenly as possible on the dough. Then roll up the dough starting on the long side nearest to you, rolling away from you. Even out the ends of the dough with your hands then wrap the roll in wax paper and freeze overnight on a cookie sheet or anything flat to keep the dough from bending. This recipe makes 4 rolls of cookie dough.

When ready to bake, unroll the dough from the wax paper, cut into slices ~1/4 inch in width, then place on ungreased cookie sheets. I bake these on parchment paper at 375 for 10-12 minutes. I do shift the trays in the oven to keep the cookies from burning on the bottom. We do eat any "black-bottom" cookies but never give those away.

This recipe easily makes 80-100 cookies. Yum, yum, yum. Every one with a Christmas stocking at our house (except our dog) gets a small private stash in their stocking. It's almost impossible to just eat one!

I don't think either of my boys have tried making these cookies yet. Maybe next year we can have a "let's see just how you roll these up" cookie making party if they get home in time before the holidays. However, it did warm my heart to know that one of them asked Santa to bring him food storage jars for bulk food "just like mom's".

We still have a few of these cookies left in the freezer to bring out for special Christmas memories throughout the year. I'll bet they don't last through February (maybe not even January!).

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

3 comments:

Ali said...

the BEST cookies ever! i'm not sure i can wait 11 months for another batch..

Diana Dyer said...

Thanks, Ali - one of the lucky people who gets some in her stocking that Santa fills at our house. :-)

Rumela said...

I like this date pinwheel cookies recipe. these cookies are sure to taste great and are extremely nutritious as well. I am going to bake a batch for the holidays when my kids will be at home. I'll be sure that what they are eating is healthy.