Thursday’s Dish: Date-Nut Pinwheel Cookies

I can’t wait for Cookie Day! At our house, we have one huge holiday baking day where my husband, daughter and I, plus other family and friends, make our favorite cookie recipes. We put on Christmas carols, have holiday drinks and snacks, and set up a table for the kids and others who want to decorate rather than bake.

When the day is done, we have packages of cookies to give to neighbors and friends, boxes to take to school and work, and a large platter for everyone to take home. It’s a lot of fun, and work, but a great way to spend time together and really get into the holiday spirit.

To prepare, we make sugar cookies ahead of time, using cookie cutters in various holiday shapes, so the kids can sit right down to decorating. We have bowls of various sprinkles and colored sugar, colored icing in baggies with the tips cut off for piping, and those cool cookie-decorating markers. We decide which recipes we’ll make, and do what we can ahead of time. For instance, the recipe I’m sharing below, from my husband’s grandma, is a perfect make-ahead dough because it needs to be rolled and chilled before cutting and baking.

On the day, we roughly plan the order of things by the temperature at which each will bake, then crank up the oven and get going! I have plenty of pre-cut parchment paper, as the cookie sheets never have a chance to cool down or get washed. A word of warning about those, however: Last year, I yanked a pan of Date-Nut Pinwheel Cookies out of the oven too quickly and the parchment paper slid off the cookie sheet. I got it out quickly, but not before some of the sugary filling adhered to my oven’s element. My poor oven limped along through the rest of cookie day, but gave up the ghost soon after. It was a lesson learned the hard way.

We also keep the stove-top going, making things like fugde and pralines that don’t have to go in the oven. We do all this in a regular-sized kitchen, bumping into each other, making a big mess and taking turns cleaning. It’s a holiday tradition I wouldn’t give up for anything.

This year, I get to have TWO Cookie Days! LiveMom is hosting a The Great Bake-Off and Cookie Swap at Ruta Maya on Friday, December 4th. Enter your cookie recipe, then come and join the fun! Details are below.

You can submit your original cookie recipe here. The LiveMom staff will then choose the winner from all of the entries that are submitted between November 1 and November 30, 2009. On December 4th from 7:00- 8:30 p.m., we will hold The Great Bake Off and Cookie Swap at Ruta Maya on S. Congress. There, everyone will get to sample the winning cookie! And the winner will be awarded a prize valued at over $200!! We will notify the winner of the best original cookie by email prior to the event.

If you don’t have an original cookie recipe but would still like to win some awesome prizes, you will have an opportunity at the Cookie Swap! Here’s what you can do:

Bake and bring a family favorite. If you have a recipe you make every year, whether it’s been handed down from your great-grandmother or you stumbled upon it online, you also have a chance to win some awesome prizes! All you have to do is bake two dozen of your favorite cookie and bring them to the event for tasting and voting. We will have a People’s Choice and Kids’ Choice Award.

Event Details:ruta-maya-coffee.jpg

Where: Ruta Maya, 3601 S. Congress Ave

When: December 4, 2009, from 7:00- 8:30 p.m.

Ruta Maya is providing some free coffee to go along with the cookies! Thanks, Ruta Maya.

Yes, kids are allowed. We will be in the kid-friendly corner that has toys to keep them entertained, so bring them along. We need some kid cookie tasters to vote for the Kid’s Choice award.

You can RSVP here or leave a comment letting us know that you’ll be there.

Date-Nut Pinwheel Cookies

3/4 pound dates, cut into small pieces

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup waterAdvertisement
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 Tablespoon sour cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 3/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/8 teaspoon salt

For the filling, put chopped dates, sugar and water in a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until thick (about 10 minutes). Stir in nuts and set aside.

In large mixing bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar, then add egg and mix well. Stir in sour cream and vanilla. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet, and mix until smooth.

Divide dough into 2 parts. Place each on a large piece of wax paper and roll about 1/4-inch thick into a rectangle (approximately 10×6 inches). (If dough is not cooperating, try rolling it into a ball and chilling it for 20 minutes.) Spread each rectangle with filling and roll tightly, pinching long edge together tightly. Wrap and chill overnight (or freeze).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice rolls into 1/4-inch thick slices. Bake on a greased cookie sheet (or one lined with parchment paper). Bake for 10 minutes (cookies will be puffed up and golden — do not over-brown). Makes a bunch!

I hope you enjoy them,

Shannon

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