Thursday, December 15, 2011

Date-Nut Filled Cookies

I would like to introduce you to my most favorite Christmas cookies of all filled cookies. They may not sound all that awesome, but seriously, they are the best ever.
My grandmother would make these cookies every year for our family Christmas gathering, and my mom would also make them for us, for a Christmas treat. I love them SO much. Whenever I bake these cookies, I am reminded of the many wonderful Christmas memories I have.....of my cousins and extended family....and all of the happy times of my childhood.
Here's my beloved recipe:

Date-Nut Filled Cookies
(Recipe adapted from an old Fanny Farmer Cookbook. Makes about 30 filled cookies.)

Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies:

1 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 T milk or cream
1 tsp vanilla
3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

Date-nut filling:

1 cup chopped raisins
1 cup finely chopped dates
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp all-purpose flour

To make the cookies:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Beat in the milk and vanilla; mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add to the butter/sugar mixture slowly, mixing well. (add more flour, one tablespoon at a time, if needed, until dough isn't very sticky)

Divide the dough in half, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour (can be left overnight).

To make the filling:

In a small saucepan, combine the raisins, dates, walnuts, water, sugar, flour, and heat to just a boil over medium-high heat; stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and boil gently for about 20 minutes, until the mixture is thickened. Let cool to room temperature (mixture will thicken more upon standing).

To assemble cookies:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper so the cookies won't stick.

Remove one half of the dough from the refrigerator (keep other half chilled until ready to use). Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 1/4 inch thickness. Use a round 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter or biscuit cutter to cut out the cookies. Lay them in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet; about an inch apart.

Spoon about one teaspoon of the date-nut mixture on the center of each cookie. Then place a second cookie over on top of each, slightly pressing down along the edges. Using the tines of a fork, seal the edges of each filled cookie, and prick the centers. Repeat with remaining dough.

Bake for about 13-16 minutes or until light brown on the bottoms and the edges. Let cool, and then enjoy!

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