There are a lot of cookies that I adore and this date pinwheel cookie is high on my list of the top 25 best ever cookies. I love the brown-sugar dough wrapped around the date nut filling. When it’s baked correctly, the cookie has a wonderful mouth-watering rich caramelized outer cookie with an inside date filling that's lusciously sweet and nutty.
These cookies can be a little tricky to roll out. I can honestly say I haven’t quite yet perfected rolling the dough, adding the filling, and baking the cookie slices. Sometimes they come out picture perfect and sometimes they just don’t, like the ones in the picture above. I will say this, regardless of how they look, they have always tasted amazing.
I don’t know much about the origins of this cookie either but of course I’d like to believe that it’s Italian. Most days, I'd like to believe that all things delicious are Italian. Even though my mom and aunts have been making these cookies for years, they are unfortunately not Italian. As far as I can tell from my search online, the cookie's origins are American. The oldest recipe that I could find was a similar date-nut pinwheel cookie recipe in Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book,
originally published in 1963. They list the caramel cookie dough part of the recipe (with the option to add the date-nut filling) as one of the best cookie recipes in the early 1940s. So there you have it, this is an old American classic that will most definitely complement any holiday cookie tray.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies
For the cookie dough:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups sifted flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
For the date filling:
- 7-1/4 ounce pitted dates
- 1 cup chopped nuts
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Dash of salt
Step 1: To make the cookie dough: sift flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
Step 2: Beat butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in medium bowl until light and fluffy.
Step 3: Beat in vanilla and egg.
Step 4: Add sifted dry ingredients. Divide dough into two equal portions, wrap in plastic wrap and chill until firm enough to roll, about an hour.
Step 5: To make the filling: Cut dates in small pieces and place in a medium saucepan. Then add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, dash salt, and 1/3 cup water. Bring date mixture to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add chopped walnuts and then cool to room temperature.
Step 6: Roll each dough half, on floured waxed paper, into a 9x12 rectangle. Spread with filling; roll up tightly from end.
Step 7: Wrap in paper; chill overnight, Slice 1/8'" thick.
Step 8: Bake at 375°F for 10 minutes.