These date cookies look like a brown sugar cookie on the outside. And you only know they have dates - when you bite in and have the lucious bourbon date filling goosh out. It's a hidden surprise! If you don't have any bourbon on hand there are a few ideas and substitutions listed below.
Dates are a fairly common in Italian cookie recipes. We use dates, apricots and dried fruit quite a bit.
When I was a kid I thought dates were lame, and especially in desserts. But, as I've gained a wrinkle or two, I reverted back to my roots and my mom's cookie recipes she baked prior to her green hippie tangent era. If you have dates and were wanting to use them up I have one other date recipe on my site:
Both of these have been at my family dinners for a long time.
I was trying to think how to classify this recipe. It's not a rolled cookie recipe. It's not like a cookie bar recipe. Closest I can think of it's one of those drop cookies recipes , but with one extra step between the "drop":
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* 1 cup packed brown sugar
* 1/2 cup butter shortening (Yes, you read right - "shortening". *Gasp* I know!)
* 1/4 cup buttermilk or water (I have used water and/or normal milk and it turns out ok)
* 1 large egg
* 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 tsp vanilla
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp baking soda
* 1 lb of dates (3 cups - about)
* 1 1/2 cups of water
* 1/4 cup of bourbon ( you can use water if you don't want the alcohol)
(Prepare date filling first, let cool while making the cookie batter. See below.)
* Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
* Mix brown sugar, shortening, and buttermilk, vanilla, and egg.
* Stir in flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
* Drop a rounded teaspoonfuls of the dough onto ungreased cookie sheet.
* place a 1/2 teaspoon of date filling on the cookie.
* Cover with 1/2 teaspoon of cookie dough.
* Place in oven and bake about 8-10 minutes.
* Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack after 10 minutes of cooling.
* Place all date filling ingredients in sauce pan EXCEPT the nuts!
* Place pan on moderately low heat
* Stir constantly until mixture thickens ( Stay there, don't get impatient!)
* Remove from heat
* Add nuts
* Set aside and let cool while you mix up the cookie batter
* Give yourself for this date project.
There are several things. But the bourbon gives the date filling that little punch.
Let me start with - I HATE SHORTENING! And I mention that about every page when the substitution is asked about. But, I'm afraid the cookie would spread too thin and that bourbon filling surprise would melt into the dough - and there goes the best part. The hidden filling. These will spread even with the shortening, but the filling stays enclosed.
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