Favorite Date Cookies

My son, Cookie Monster, and I all have something in common (along with a large percentage of the US): our favorite cookie, hands down, is a chocolate chip cookie (Best recipe ever here.)

My husband isn’t a cookie fanatic, but if he had to choose, it would be a simple date cookie that is a family recipe on my side. I love this cookie too. It is a soft drop cookie, with a pleasant irregular shape, swirled with a ribbon of sweet date syrup. You can find a few plump date pieces here and there, too.

Everyone on my mom’s side makes this cookie, most often for the holidays. Best as anyone remembers, the recipe came from my Great Aunt Ruthie.

Aunt Ruthie hosted us frequently for Sunday dinners, and I have a lot of fond memories. As kids we were told to ask for water, not milk with dinner. Although Aunt Ruthie frequently had expired milk in her fridge, she always had a delicous baked good to go with our tall glasses of…water. She made lots of delicious treats, and one day I hope to go through her recipe box – I know it will be filled with treasures.

As I got older, we still went for Sunday dinner, but from time to time I would bring a boyfriend. I learned that in addition to being a talented baker, Aunt Ruthie was also a shameless flirt, and even went as far as pinching one boyfriend’s bottom. I miss her. I hope when I’m 70 I’m still baking up a storm and pinching 20-year-old boy bottoms.

Date Cookies

2 cups pitted, rough chopped dates
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 sticks butter, softened
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1) Over medium heat, bring dates, water, and 1/2 cups sugar to a boil. Lower heat and cook until thick, stirring frequently. Cool for several minutes.

2) Separately, cream brown sugar, 1/2 cup sugar, and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until fully incorporated.

3) In separate bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, and mix until combined. Fold in date syrup – you want it incorporated, but you still want to see swirls of syrup.

4) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drop dough by tablespoonful onto lined or greased baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Immediately remove from sheet and place cookies on cooling rack.

Comments 9

  1. Laurel wrote:

    milesinbetween.com has a date recipe today too! What a coincidence. I am going to make up these cookies ASAP. They sound delicious and we are flush with dates. We went to the Indian spice market here in Penang yesterday and tried all kinds. They come from different places with different prices. We ended up with Omar dates for 10RM/kg (about $1.50/lb), but tried some amazing Saudi Arabia dates for a ridiculous 93RM/kg ($14/lb, which actually doesn’t seem so bad after conversion…).

    Posted 27 Sep 2010 at 11:04 am
  2. Anna wrote:

    I’m jealous of all your date varieties! The only way I can get them economically is to buy whatever tub they have at Costco. Your muffins look delicious, and I can’t wait to try them.

    Posted 27 Sep 2010 at 6:59 pm
  3. Rich wrote:

    These look delicious! I can’t wait to try them.

    Do you think they might benefit from a sprinkling of sugar with some spices on top? The recipe itself seems to really let the flavor of the dates come through, but would it be good with a little bit of a cardamom/cinnamon crumble kind of a topping?

    Posted 27 Sep 2010 at 1:42 pm
  4. Anna wrote:

    I like your style Rich! You can always add to a cookie…I think a nice fall spice with a little turbinado sugar would be lovely! If you try it before I do, let me know how it turns out!

    Posted 27 Sep 2010 at 6:58 pm
  5. A Little Yumminess wrote:

    For some strange reason I am not a date fan….maybe I need a batch of these to help me get over my date phobia!

    Posted 27 Sep 2010 at 7:38 pm
  6. datehoney wrote:

    these sound great! you should consider publishing this recipe over at http://www.101usesfordatesyrup.wordpress.com! BTW, A Little Yumminess, dates are the new big thing – many people just haven’t have the good ones! They should taste a bit lit like sticky caramel, but more complex!

    Posted 27 Sep 2010 at 8:23 pm
  7. Laurel wrote:

    Update: I made these this morning and they are phenomenal. I let my syrup go a little too long (chasing my little date around) until it became a paste, but it folded in beautifully. I made them tiny, barely a teaspoon size, and plan to freeze little marbles of raw dough for emergencies :)
    Thinking about you getting into your Aunt Rose’s recipe box, what will our kids/grandkids be saying? Can’t wait to get into Grandma Anna’s blog archive? :-)

    Posted 29 Sep 2010 at 1:02 am
  8. blackbookkitchendiar wrote:

    this looks really yummy… my dad would love this. thank you for sharing this.

    Posted 29 Sep 2010 at 11:38 pm
  9. newlywed wrote:

    I love that story about your aunt! I love dates…and rarely save them long enough to bake with them. I think you’ve convinced me, though, not to pig out on them fresh from the tub!

    Posted 30 Sep 2010 at 12:28 pm

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