Gingerbread Date Cookies.
Date as in the dried fruit, not the social event. Although I think these cookies would be a great reason to date someone.
True Story — when I first moved to Florida, my wonderful friend Pat Cavanaugh in Minnesota sent me a care package with my favorite Tea Source tea and some of these Gingerbread Date Cookies.
As you can imagine, it is still quite warm here in Florida even in December. When I went out to my mailbox that day and opened the little door, the whole mailbox smelled like baking gingerbread. It was awesome! The gingerbread was even warm in the package. It was like a baking miracle.
So I always think of Pat when I bake these cookies. She was nice enough to share the recipe which I think comes from Cooking Light magazine.
Oh, and for those of you who think gingerbread is only hard and crunchy…prepare to be converted. These cookies are soft and tender with a little spicy ginger kick.
Here’s what you need:
Light Brown Sugar, Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Ground Ginger, Ground Nutmeg, Ground Cloves, Cinnamon, Chopped Dates, Eggs, Canola Oil, Molasses, Salt, and Sugar.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
I buy dates already chopped but you can certainly chop your own. You can find dates in the same section as the raisins and other dried fruit.
For this recipe, part of the dates are soaked in water to soften and rehydrate them. Put 1/2 cup of the dates and 1/2 cup of hot water in a small bowl.
Let them steep for 10 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
In a large bowl, combine 4 cups flour with 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder….
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda…
2 teaspoons ground ginger…. I bought new ground ginger for this recipe because I wanted to be sure I had a fresh, bright ginger flavor.
Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon,
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Use a whisk to thoroughly combine all of the dry ingredients.
Add 1 cup of chopped dates to the dry ingredients. Stir them into the flour and set aside.
In a food processor or blender, blend the soaked, softened dates and their soaking water until smooth.
When the dates are smooth, add 2 eggs.
Measure 2 cups of light brown sugar. The best way to get an accurate measurement with brown sugar is to lightly pack it into the measuring cups.
Add the 2 cups of brown sugar to the dates and eggs in the food processor. Also add 2 Tablespoons of Canola Oil.
Add 1/4 cup molasses. If you spray your measuring cup with non-stick spray first, the molasses slides right out. It’s a good trick for measuring honey too.
Process or blend all of the wet ingredients together until smooth.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix just until combined.
I stirred about half way with a spoon then got in there with my hands and lightly kneaded the dough to finish mixing.
Mix or knead just until all of the flour is incorporated into the dough. Do not over-stir.
Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick spray. Divide the dough into 4 parts placing 2 blobs of dough on each tray.
I quickly discovered that you need to work the dough lengthwise on the trays.
Using slightly damp hands, form each piece into a long log. The dough is very soft and sticky so you will need to form and not roll to get the log shape.
Repeat this process, re-wetting your hands as necessary until you have 2 long logs per tray. The dough will spread to double its size so be sure to leave a few inches on each side and between the dough logs.
Sprinkle the top of each log with sugar. You will use about 1/2 Tablespoon of sugar per log for 2 Tablespoons total.
Bake the logs, 1 sheet at a time, at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. They will be golden brown, firm, and cracked on the top.
Let the logs cool on the pan for 10 minutes and then use a spatula to carefully remove them from the parchment and move to cool completely on a wire rack.
Once the logs are completely cool, cut them into 1 inch slices.
The Gingerbread Date Cookies will keep for at least a week in an airtight container.
If you want to do something really nice, mail some to a friend!
Here’s the recipe: