Friday, April 4, 2014

D is for Date Pinwheels

Skills Level: Intermediate
Skills Attained: Jelly Roll Cookies


Date Pinwheels make it onto my family's Christmas cookie tray each year. I'm not sure what makes them a "Christmas cookie" other than the fact that my mom only made this cookie around the holidays my entire life. I realize not everyone is into dates; even my husband would admit this cookie didn't sound appealing to him at first. Well, he is a Date Pinwheel convert, because he now requests these cookies each year. So, I will share with you the recipe that my mom passed down to me. 

Supplies/Ingredients:
  • 16 ounces finely chopped dates
  • 2/3 c. white sugar
  • 2/3 c. water
  • 1 c. chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
  • 1 c. shortening
  • 2 c. brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 4 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
  • Medium-size saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Mixer with bowl
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Wax or parchment paper
  • Rolling Pin
  • Knife
  • Cookie sheet
  • Prepare the Date-Nut Filling: 
    1. In a medium-size saucepan, combine the finely chopped dates, 2/3 c. white sugar, and 2/3 c. water. 
    2. Bring to a boil. 
    3. Cook over low heat; stirring constantly until thickened (about 4 minutes). 
    4. Add chopped nuts, if desired. 
    5. Chill the date mixture in the refrigerator until ready to use. 
  • Prepare the Cookie Dough:
    1. Cream shortening and 2 c. brown sugar in a mixer. (Mom's Tip #8)
    2. Beat in eggs and vanilla. (Mom's Tip #9)
    3. Combine flour and remaining dry ingredients (baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon) in a separate medium-size mixing bowl. (Mom's Tip #10)
    4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat until combined. (You may need to mix the last bit of flour by hand.)
    5. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. 
  • Make the Cookies:
    1. Divide the dough in half. 
    2. Tear off a sheet of wax paper approximately 18" wide, and lightly flower the surface. 
    3. On the wax paper, roll out one half of dough into a rectangle about 1/4" to 1/2" thick. (I have found a thicker dough allows the cookie to hold together better.) 
    4. Spread half of the date-nut filling on the dough up to the edges. 
    5. Roll up the long edge of the rectangular dough into a jelly roll and wrap in the wax paper. 
    6. Repeat the above steps for the second half of the dough and date-nut filling.
    7. Refrigerate the cookie rolls for at least 30 minutes. 
    8. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. 
    9. Once the cookie rolls are chilled, slice the rolls into 1/2" slices. 
    10. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 8 - 10 minutes.  Yields 6 dozen cookies.

Check out more posts on my 2014 A to Z Challenge!