Although these date pinwheel cookies take a bit of work, they’re worth it. To make your date pinwheel creation a bit easier, you can make both the filling and the dough in advance and put them together before baking.
Preparation time: 12 1/2 hours, including chilling
Baking time: 12 minutes
Yield: 3 1/2 dozen
3/4 cup pitted dates
1/4 cup walnuts
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Roughly chop the dates and walnuts.
Zest the orange and then juice it in a small bowl.
Reserve the zest.
Combine the sugar, water, and dates in a 2-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook over medium heat until the mixture is thick, about 8 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the walnuts and 1 tablespoon orange juice.
Cool and then purée the mixture in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade or in a blender.
Transfer to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and hold at room temperature.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Using a mixer, beat the butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
Add the brown sugar and mix together until smooth.
In a small bowl, beat the egg lightly with the vanilla extract.
Finely mince the orange zest and add 1 tablespoon orange zest to the egg mixture.
Add the egg mixture to the butter mixture and blend well.
Add the flour mixture in three stages, blending well after each addition.
Form the dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic, and chill overnight.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a large rectangle about 10 x 15 inches and 1/4-inch thick.
Evenly spread the date mixture over the dough.
Roll up from the long side to a tight roll.
Wrap in wax paper, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Slice the roll into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
Transfer the cookies to the cookie sheet, leaving 1 inch between them.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden and set.
Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and transfer the cookies to racks to cool.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
Freeze for longer storage.
Per serving: Calories 82 (From fat 25); Fat 1g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 11mg; Sodium 10mg; Carbohydrate 14g (Dietary fiber 0g); Protein 1g.