When I was growing up, date cookies were always a part of my mom’s Christmas cookie baking routine. It’s been years since I had these date cookies, up until today, and now I am delighted to share this holiday cookie recipe with you and the rest of the world.
This post is sponsored in conjunction with ChristmasSweetsWeek. All opinions are our own.
About these Christmas cookies
It’s funny how certain foods can act as a time machine and transport you back, decades into the past. I think this is especially true for holiday recipes.
These date filled cookies come from the Mennonite Community Cookbook and as one of our boys pointed out, “They are datelicious!”
I grew up surrounded by holiday treats of all sorts when I was a kid. Homemade hard candy, buckeyes, sugar cookies, dessert bars of every kind and so many other holiday desserts were a part of our family Christmas tradition.
One type of Christmas cookie that my mom always had on hand around the holidays was her sweet date filled cookies. My mom has been gone for almost 30 years, and I don’t think I have tasted a date filled cookie since her holiday baking days.
To help honor her memory and wonderful taste, I am making these Christmas date cookies here on Platter Talk, and you are going to love them.
What do Dates Taste Like?
While I was putting these date cookies together, one of the twins strolled into the kitchen as asked me, “What do dates taste like?” Some people describe the taste of a date as a cross between a fig and a prune.
The natural sweetness of dates becomes concentrated as they dry, making them a perfect filling for these date-filled cookies.
What’s in them
- Brown Sugar
- Vanilla Extract
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda
Except for maybe the dates, I’ll bet you have all the ingredients for these simple date filled cookies sitting in your pantry and waiting to be used. As you will see, there are two parts to this recipe for date cookies.
- The outside cookie
- The date filling
How to make them
The biggest difference between my mom’s Christmas date cookies and this version is my use of our Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. It’s a powerful kitchen tool and great for making so many different recipes.
We start the process of making these date-filled cookies like many other baking recipes: We cream the butter and sugar together with our stand mixer. Eventually, we add the dry ingredients to the mix.
If you use a stand mixer, take a look at the above video for some useful information about how to use your stand mixer for mixing thick or heavy dough recipes.
You’re going to chill the dough for a couple of hours before rolling it out. Make sure you keep it air-tight, so it doesn’t dry out. I like to double wrap in a plastic kitchen wrap as shown above.
Shortly before you’re ready to take the chilled dough out of the refrigerator, you can start making the date filling.
After you chop (and pit, if necessary) the dates, you’re going to heat them with a cup of water, some sugar, and some flour.
The recipe calls for a cup of sugar in the date filling, but because the dates have a highly concentrated sugar content, I think you can get away by cutting the sugar to a half cup.
You will bring this mixture to a low simmer while stirring constantly. What you are looking for is a slightly chunky, jam-like consistency.
An immersion blender is helpful to facilitate this process, but a tincture of time and a good old fashioned wooden spoon will do the job just fine.
After your dough is adequately chilled, you’re going to lightly flour a large cutting board and roll the dough out. Next, use a round cutter to cut out the top and bottom layers for these date cookies.
I use a donut cutter but can even use a small drinking glass. Just be sure the dough is no thicker than ¼ inch.
You’ll see that I use both a large rolling pin and a smaller pizza roller, which I think gives me better control of the dough. These pizza rollers are an inexpensive and handy tool to have in your kitchen!
The cookie dough may be a little on the flimsy side after being rolled so thin. To protect each cut-out from tearing, use a small spatula to transfer them to the baking sheet.
Add the Date Filling
After preparing a baking sheet and placing the bottom layer of cookies on it, take a teaspoon and top each bottom layer of cookie with a generous portion of the date filling.
When placing the top layer over the date filling, simply lay it on top of the filling and then pinch the edges of the top and bottom layers together.
If the top cracks a little in the center, don’t worry about it. This acts as a vent during the baking process and adds character to the finished cookies.
I bake these cookies for about 16 minutes, at 375°. Keep an eye on them and when they are golden brown, take them out of the oven.
Allow these date-filled cookies to cool for a few minutes before taking them off the baking pan.
You can dress them up a bit by sprinkling a little-powdered sugar over them and maybe tossing in a couple of spare dates that have been lightly rolled in powdered sugar.
Besides our date-pinwheel cookies, you may want to try these holiday favorites too!
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For the Cookie Dough
For the Date Filling
- 2 cups dates chopped
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 cup water
- Cream the shortening and sugar together. Add eggs, milk, and vanilla and beat until fluffy.
- Combine flour, oats, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and mix it all together.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix thoroughly. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours.
- Meanwhile, make the date filing using a small saucepan to combine the sugar and flour and add the chopped dates. Add the water and cook over medium-high heat while stirring constantly. Use an immersion blender if desired to help blend the date filling together.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and using small portions, roll it out onto a lightly floured board to ¼ inch thickness. Cut with a round cutter.
- Place bottom layer of cookies on a greased cookie sheet, about 1 inch apart from each and put a teaspoon of the date filling on top of each cookie. Cover with another piece of dough and fasten the edges securely.
Bake at 375° until golden brown.
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