Last Christmas when I gave my family a cookbook I wrote that contained over 100 recipes that were either favorites I had developed over the years or those handed down to me from my mother and grandmother, it didn’t take long to realize I left out a cookie recipe that everybody loved. I knew I would probably leave out something but never thought it would be one of our most favorite and time tested recipes. I wouldn’t even guess how many times this recipe has been made over the years. Oh well…the great thing about the book format I chose is that it is a ring binder and additional recipes can be printed and added to the book at any time.
The grandmother I always talk about as being a great cook lived in a cottage on the farm where I grew up…she was my dad’s mother. The grandmother who gave us this awesome cookie recipe was my maternal grandmother. She wasn’t an accomplished cook and this recipe is her entire culinary legacy to her family. But, as everybody will tell you, this is a winner and a real treasure. In years to come I hope a few of my recipes will be remembered as fondly.
The special thing about this recipe is the buttery, orange flavored cookie dough that just melts in your mouth. It’s easy to handle without the addition of much flour needed to roll it out, it holds its shape during baking, and the moisture in the date filling keeps it soft for several days. My Chicago daughter is coming to visit next week and she will gobble these cookies up right out of the freezer. Even frozen they are soft and chewy with fabulous flavor. I used a 2-3/4 inch scalloped cookie cutter but a larger one can be used if you like big cookies, or cut a larger circle and fold it over to make a half moon shape. All good. Use a well-floured fork to crimp the edges of the cookie to seal in the filling. The secret to the shiny, very pretty top crust is using an egg yolk wash. A French trained pastry chef friend of mine told me that she uses a wash made of an egg yolk, a tablespoon of water and a pinch of sugar for many of her baked good to achieve that very professional looking shine.
- 1 cup butter
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
- t teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon soda
- 2 cups dates, pitted and chopped
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon water
- Sanding Sugar
- Cream the butter and sugars in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg, orange juice concentrate and vanilla and combine well.
- Combine flour, salt and soda. Add to the flour mixture and mix until well combine.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for several hours or overnight.
- Combine dates, sugar and water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes until the mixture resembles a thick jam. Add the orange juice concentrate Watch it carefully. I burned my first batch because I got distracted for a minute.
- Divide the chilled dough in half and roll out one piece to a thickness of ¼ inch. I used a 2-3/4 inch scalloped cookie cutter. You can make them any size you wish or you can cut out large circles and fold the little pies in half...whatever you prefer. Place a generous teaspoon of date filling on a dough circle and top with another piece of dough. Gently press down on the top to flatten the cookie JUST A LITTLE BIT. This makes it easier to crimp the edges with a floured fork. When all the little date sandwiches are made brush the tops of the cookies with an egg yolk mixed with 2 teaspoons of water. Sprinkle with sanding sugar. Refrigerate unbaked cookies for 15-20 minutes, the bake in a 375 degree F oven for 10-12 minutes. (350 degree Convection for 8-10 minutes).