The tang of the orange and sweetness of the dates combine to produce a rich, wonderful cookie.
INGREDIENTS (for 4 servings):
- 1 1/2 cups chopped pitted dates
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 2/3 cup chopped pecans
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine the dates, 1/4 cup sugar, a pinch of salt and orange juice. Cook, stirring frequently until the dates have softened. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon orange zest and pecans. When mixture has cooled, process in a food processor or blender until pecans are finely ground. Set aside.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon salt; set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, 1/2 cup white sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time then stir in the vanilla and 2 teaspoons orange zest. Gradually mix in the dry ingredients to form a smooth dough. Divide dough into thirds, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until firm.
Roll each third of the dough out into a rectangle 1/4 inch in thickness. Spread 1/3 of the filling over each rectangle leaving a 1 inch strip of dough uncovered on one of the long sides. Starting at the edge opposite of the uncovered strip, roll the dough up jellyroll style and press lightly to seal. Wrap the rolls in waxed paper and refrigerate until firm.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. slice chilled rolls of dough into coins about 1/4 inch thick. Place slices 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly golden. Allow cookies to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely.