Date pinwheel cookies are a great part of any Christmas cookie exchange. As a bonus, they’re as much to make as they are to eat! These are the perfect Christmas cookies to make with your kids or grandchildren this year.
What are these?
Date pinwheel cookies are a holiday standard in our family. It is the only time during the entire year that we have them and that of course is part of what makes them special.
In a nutshell, A sweet jam of chopped dates and walnuts is rolled into a simple cookie dough.
For me, they are special for another reason. I always think of my mom when I make these because she made date filled cookies every Christmas. Hers were a bit different than these.
What’s in them?
As you can see, these cookies have your basic pantry ingredients, plus dates. If you don’t like walnuts or have a nut allergy; leave them out. I promise, these cookies taste great either way!
How to make them
Our kids enjoy making any kind of pinwheel cookie. There is just something fun about pinwheel-anything.
I think it has something to do with the magical swirl that results from rolling the dough. With these date cookies, there is also the magical taste of sweet chopped dates highlighted by an ever so soft crunch from the chopped walnuts.
Start by making the date compote and then adding the nuts. This is done by simply “cooking down” the water, sugar, and dates.
Next, make the simple cookie dough. Wrap and seal it and then chill for an hour in your refrigerator.
After your dough is chilled, place it on a piece of flour-dusted parchment paper. Roll it out to a 12 x 18-inch rectangle. Use a baking sheet as a guide for the size.
Spoon the filling on top of the dough. Evenly spread it and leave about a ½-inch border.
Starting with the long edge, carefully roll the dough, jelly roll-style. Then, wrap it with plastic wrap and chill for another hour.
After the the log of rolled dough has chilled, place it on a cutting board. Then, use a knife to cut into ¼″ slices.
Place the cookies on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake at 375° for 12 to 14 minutes, until golden brown.
Let the cookies sit on the baking sheet for a minute or two. Then, transfer to a cooling rack.
These date pinwheel cookies will last for a week, in an airtight container. Also, you can make them ahead of time, freeze them, and put into your holiday cookie exchange.
You can leave the nuts out completely, or substitute any of the following, for a delicious substitution:
- Golden raisins
- Orange zest
- Dried cranberries, chopped
More holiday cookies
Date Pinwheel Cookies
- Stir together dates, ¼ cup sugar, ½ cup water, and ⅛ teaspoon salt in a saucepan; bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat; simmer 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in walnuts, and set aside.
- Beat remaining ½ cup sugar, softened butter, and brown sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
- Add egg and vanilla, beating until blended. Gradually add remaining ⅛ teaspoon salt, flour, and baking soda, beating until blended. Cover and chill 1 hour.
- Turn dough out onto floured wax paper, and roll into an 18- x 12-inch rectangle. Spread date mixture evenly over dough, leaving a ½-inch border.
- Roll up dough jellyroll fashion, beginning at 1 long side. Wrap in wax paper, and chill 1 hour.
- Cut roll into ¼-inch-thick slices; place on lightly greased baking sheets.
- Bake, in batches, at 375° for 12 to 14 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool cookies 2 to 3 minutes on baking sheets, and remove to wire racks to cool completely.
- The dough for these pinwheel cookies can be chilled overnight.
- Make these cookies ahead-of time. Seal and freeze to add to your Christmas cookie exchange later.