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date pinwheel cookies | 1 2 3
Date pinwheel cookies are as much a part of holiday tradition at my parents’ house as Christmas trees and stockings – my mom’s been making them for as far back as I can remember. Though these cookies are a bit more work than the drop cookies (chocolate chip, oatmeal, and the like) that you’re probably used to making, the great part about these is that most of the work involved can be dealt with far in advance of holiday time. Just make the dough, spread it with filling, and roll it all up in a pretty spiraled log. The log can then be tossed in the freezer, and sliced and baked up as needed later on.

8 oz. pitted dates
2/3 cup water
2/3 cup walnuts
˝ cup salted butter (1 stick), warmed to room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 cups flour

yields: 40-50 cookies

prepping the filling
1. Combine the dates and the water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and turn the heat down to low. Let it simmer for about five minutes or so, giving it a few stirs from time to time.
2. While the dates are cooking on the stove, you’ll need to chop the walnuts. You can use whatever method you like, but here’s one that I find works nicely: Take a paper towel. The good thing about using the paper towel is that it’ll absorb some of that nut oil. Tear off a piece of cling wrap that’s just a little big bigger than the towel. Place the cling wrap on the countertop, and the paper towel on top of that. Spread the nuts in a thin layer along one half of the paper towel. Fold the paper towel and cling wrap in half, covering the nuts. You can now use a rolling pin to crush the nuts by moving back and forth gently over the cling wrap. The nuts should be crushed fairly finely, though NOT to the point where you find yourself with a big pile of powder.
3. When the dates are nice and smushy, remove the lid, and cook off any excess water (if necessary). Mash the softened dates with the back of a spoon, until you’ve created a mixture that has a sort of paste-like consistency. Remove the pot from the stovetop and stir in the nuts. Let the mixture cool.

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