Saturday, December 2, 2017

Date-Nut Pinwheel Cookies

Date-Nut Pinwheel Cookies are infused head to toe with white wine and the decadent flavours of Baklava.

Date-Nut Pinwheel Cookies

There is something about pinwheel cookies that just screams "holiday". When else but the months leading up to Christmas can you find such a dedicated array of swirled treats? From simple two-tone sugar cookies to delicacies filled with caramel and almondsweet cinnamon or even peanuts and Nutella, there is something for everyone. Of course, being a lover of date squares, fig newtons and baklava myself, I didn't even think of hesitating when I came across a recipe in the LCBO magazine that had a rich, wine soaked date puree mixed with walnuts, honey and rosewater as a filling. The cookie itself is a relatively basic brown sugar dough, made with half butter half shortening in order to allow a little more plasticity during rolling.

Like most pinwheels, these swirls are perfectly at home in the freezer, especially when stored in paper towel rolls (which maintain the round shape). I made a batch a few months ago, froze it, and now am at liberty to bake just what I need for a cookie tray. In fact, while the recipe doesn't explicitly say it, if you have time freeze the filled roll for at least 30 minutes before slicing it so that it stays mostly round. If you cant wait... well, dental floss works better than a knife at that point.

BTW - You will have leftover filling. It's a fact of life. But a very tasty, very versatile fact of life. Smear it on hearty crispbread with some sharp cheese or even top a schmear on a bagel... you'll be glad you did.

Date-Nut Pinwheel Cookies
Adapted from Eshun Mott
Makes ~40
¼ cup salted butter, softened
¼ cup shortening
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tbsp ground flax seed
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp white wine ( I used an off dry moscato from Pelee Island)
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 cups dried pitted dates
¾ cup white wine
¼ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup honey
¼ tsp rosewater
1 tsp grated orange rind
  1. Cream butter, shortening, sugars, flax seed, vanilla and wine.
  2. Beat in the flours, baking powder and salt.
  3. Place dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and, using a rolling pin, roll out to make a rectangle about 10 x 12-inches large and ¼-inch thick.
  4. Place dough in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes or until firm.
  5. Place dates in a small pot with the white wine. Bring wine to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until dates are soft and the wine is almost completely absorbed.
  6. Place dates, walnuts, honey, rosewater and orange rind in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until mixture becomes a thick, sticky paste.
  7. Heat oven to 350ºF.
  8. Remove dough from refrigerator. Remove top sheet of parchment paper, and cut dough in half lengthwise to make two 10 x 6-inch (25 x 15-cm) rectangles.
  9. Spread filling mixture generously over each half of the dough leaving a ½ -inch (1-cm) border all around.
  10. Roll the first piece of dough into a tight log, beginning with the long edge. Repeat with second piece of dough.
  11. Use a sharp knife to cut the log into ¼” slices.
  12. Place cookies on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake, 1 sheet at a time, for 12 minutes. Cool on a rack.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 106.1
Total Fat: 3.2 g
Cholesterol: 3.8 mg
Sodium: 9.3 mg
Total Carbs: 18.8 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.3 g
Protein: 1.3 g