Thursday, February 9, 2012

Date Pinwheel Cookies

I know a lot of you are still sticking to New Year's resolutions.  But if you feel like cheating on health-minded goals, let me convince you that these cookies are a good way to go.  Chewy, slightly spiced, with a date-and-pecan ribbon spiraling through each cookie, it's vaguely reminiscent of a Fig Newton, but so much better.

The benefits of these cookies?  It's been suggested that cinnamon may help lower LDL cholesterol, and fasting blood glucose.  Dates have a fair amount of fiber.  And seriously, they're delicious.

This recipe is one I have from Nanny, my paternal grandmother - if memory serves me correctly, she likes to serve these still warm out of the oven (either that, or I was impatient and didn't wait for them to make it to the platter).  These tend to make an appearance around Christmastime, but the dough also freezes well for a few weeks, so it's great to make up over a weekend and bake during the week.


Date Pinwheel Cookies
Makes 3 or so dozen, depending on how you slice them
Click here for printable recipe

1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. butter or shortening
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
4 c. flour
3 well beaten eggs

Date Filling:
2 c. dried chopped dates
1 c. water
1 c. granulated sugar
1 1/2 c. chopped pecans

Prepare the date filling:  In a small saucepan, combine dates, water, and sugar over medium-low heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until a smooth paste forms (about 20-30 minutes).  I like to stir/mash with a potato masher to help the dates break up and dissolve into a paste.  Once the mixture is fairly smooth, fold in chopped pecans and remove from heat to let cool.

Prepare the cookie dough:  Sift together the dry ingredients.  In a large bowl, cream the butter or shortening with the granulated and brown sugars.  Add the eggs, and blend in the dry ingredients.  When well mixed, turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and divide in half.  Roll out one half of the dough into a rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick.  Spread 1/2 of the cooled filling over the dough, leaving about an inch of dough uncovered along one of the long sides of the rectangle.  Roll the dough tightly into a log, ending with the end of dough with no filling.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap.  Repeat with the other dough half and remaining filling.

Chill the dough overnight, or for up to 3 days.  (Alternatively, wrap in an additional layer of plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 weeks.)  When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Slice the dough into 1/4-inch to 1/3-inch slices, and bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden.  For optimal deliciousness, serve warm.


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