Date Pinwheel Ice Box Cookies

This recipe for date cookies goes back to my earliest memories of my Mother’s kitchen.  I can so clearly see her standing at the counter with a rolling pin in her hands, forming the logs that she wrapped in waxed paper and put into the refrigerator to chill. Yesterday I took a small plate of these cookies to my Mom when I visited her in her assisted living community, and when she saw these little date spirals her eyes lit up and she had a big smile because she recognized them too.  We shared a few long ago memories of days when we lived on a farm and she could see me from the kitchen window racing my horse as fast as I could go the full length of the pasture near the house.  I rode bareback in those days and it was a miracle I didn’t kill myself.  It seems funny to both of us now.

So…I hope you enjoy these delicious cookies.  If you like dates you will love this recipe.  It’s been a favorite in my family for over fifty years.  Often old recipes are the best because there are memories attached to them.

Date Pinwheel Ice Box Cookies
Printable Recipe

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 recipe Date Filling

Thoroughly cream together butter and sugars. Add egg and vanilla; beat well.  Sift together dry ingredients; stir into creamed mixture.  Chill.  Divide dough in half.

On a lightly floured surface roll one part in 12x 8 inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Trim edges of the dough. Spread half of the Date Filling over dough.  Begin at long edge, roll like a jelly roll.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Wrap rolls in plastic wrap and chill for several hours.  Slice 1/4 inch thick.  Bake on greased cookie sheet at 400 degrees for about 8 minutes.

Date Filling:
In saucepan combine 1 pound pitted, chopped dates, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup orange juice.  Cook and stir until mixture boils and thickens and becomes spreadable.  If it gets too thick add a more orange juice.  If you like nuts add 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or hazelnuts.

I’m linking my post today to Michael Lee’s Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum.


  1. Pam says

    Great story with the cookies and I can imagine how thrilled your mom must've been upon seeing them. I love these cookies but have never made them, now it's a must after having your recipe. Just wish I could grab one off the plate now…

  2. The Japanese Redneck says

    I'm glad your Mom was happy to see those cookies. Very sweet of you.

    They look pretty and I bet they tasted fantastic.

  3. SavoringTime in the Kitchen says

    These look wonderful, Cathy, but the memory of your mother making them is even better. I love date bars but my husband doesn't. Maybe he'd like these!

  4. La Table De Nana says

    Oh yum like a shortbread rolled around dates..We love date bars..I put OJ in my filling has a dash of espresso:)

    Thanks..I will make these one day!
    I know..the things we did fearlessly at one point!
    I cringe now:)

  5. Pam says

    They look so pretty and delicious Cathy. I might just make it to the farmer's market tomorrow – hope to see you.

  6. Red Couch Recipes says

    These make such beautiful cookies. Date bars were my beloved Aunt Ionia's specialty — we all love them. What a wonderful cookie memory. Joni

  7. Lynn says

    Cathy, I so enjoyed your memory of your mom making these and then you taking her some. I can imagine how that just made her day! My mom loved dates and we had them in several desserts. These cookies sound yummy!

  8. Happier Than a Pig in Mud says

    The cookies look great Cathy! How fun that you shared them with your Mom and they brought back so many fond memories:@)

  9. Carol @ There's Always Thyme to Cook says

    Such a sweet post, Cathy! Those cookies had to taste so good :) They fantastic.

  10. Erin says

    Mom, they look delicious! I think I have that rolling pin Gramma used to use =o) I bet she loved them!!!

  11. jabreb says

    You got me….when you said your Mom's eyes lit up and she smiled..I got teary eyed. Beautiful memories you two shared. Will definitely make these cookies!

  12. My Little Space says

    Cathy, great to see you back to the kitchen for more bakings. And these cookies just so mouthwatering. Thanks for sharing another great recipe. Hope you're enjoying your weekend.
    Blesings, Kristy

  13. teresa says

    oh YUM! everytime i see dates, i always want to buy some but never know what to do with them. now i do!

  14. Proud Italian Cook says

    Oh Cathy I love everything about these cookies, especially the story attached!I'm saving this recipe!

  15. A Feast for the Eyes says

    OMG! I love dates! These cookies are gorgeous, Cathy. I loved hearing your memories of your mom and racing your horse. How I miss my own mare, that I had for 27 years. I do recall some crazy rides on her, when I was younger and more daring. Back to the cookies… I'm adding them to my list to make around the holidays. Your mom must have been so pleased to see her daughter make this. Sweet.

  16. aimee says

    I LOVE dates and these cookies look so good!

    How wonderful that you could bless your mom by bringing back a little piece of her past and yours! BTW-I used to ride my Welsh pony bareback too:)


  17. Red Nomad OZ says

    Dates enhance ANYTHING … with the possible exception of scrambled eggs!

    Love recipes with a story behind them – thanx for sharing!!

  18. sheila @ elements says

    They're so pretty! And they sound wonderful so I'm bookmarking the recipe so I can make them in the future. I never had a cookie like this before and I just have to try them. :)

    I think it's wonderful you made them and took them to your mother. I'm not surprised her face and eyes lit up and that she was tickled pink.

    When you were a girl did you eat them with a glass of milk, hot chocolate, or tea? I think they sound great with all three! :)

  19. Rettabug says

    YOU GOT TO RIDE HORSES BAREBACK????? ♫♫ Lucky Dog~Lucky Dog ♫♫
    I got to sit in the saddle while a handler walked it around a circle in the park. That was it!!!

    I don't know which I want to have more….some of your wonderful "dated" cookies or that gorgeous platter! How pretty they BOTH look!

    How special that you could make your Mom smile with the shared memories! So many are built around food, huh?


  20. Rosemary says

    Lovely cookie, lovely story. I've always loved date pinwheels but have never made them myself. Recipe saved.
    I had a similar experience with my 95 year old uncle a few weeks ago, only it was chocolate that evoked the memory. Wonderful how food can do that! Thanks for sharing your story.

  21. gnee @ Singing With Birds says

    Hello Cathy,

    These cookies are a blast from my past. I too remember my mom making them and they are so yummy. Thanks for a fun reminder and your recipe.

  22. Jeannie says

    Cathy, I love your serving tray…so gorgeous! Of course those cookies are looking very delectable too!

  23. Pondside says

    Lovely memories…..
    I also remember a date cookie, baked every Friday – two rolled oat cookies, a large spoonful of dates on one, topped with the other and then the edges sealed before baking. That and a glass of milk was heaven.

  24. Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti says

    They look delicious and I'm sure they are extra special with so mnay wonderful memories attached to them. I will have to make them for my husband as he loves dates.

  25. Raina says

    I absolutely agree; old recipes with memories attached are the best ones. These sound really special. I love anything with dates. You are a good daughter to have made these for your mom. I bet you really brightened her day:)

    • says

      Oh my goodness! I know EXACTLY what you mean about cookies and candy “with memories attached!”… My Grandma Thompson loved dates: cookies, cake and, her specialty…Date Loaf Candy. She made this date loaf for 40 years! It became our Thompson-family tradition.
      I created a website this past year to celebrate this eye-rolling delicious iconic candy of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, made by many mothers and grandmothers, which will bring back memories from days gone by . Check out: Thank you, Marsha Smith

  26. Simple Simon says

    These cookies look so wonderful and I am coveting your serving dish. Thanks for sharing your memories.

  27. Pondside says

    We love dates, and I grew up with oatmeal-date cookies always in the cookie jar, but those are the only date cookies I’ve ever had. Yours look pretty, and I can imagine that they’re delicious.

  28. Nancy says

    These are wonderful! Have made them in Christmas pasts and they are not only pretty to place out for company they are delicious! Can’t eat just one. Thanks for posting. I am away from home for Christmas and needed the recipe. Sweet, sweet story.


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