I have a weakness for dates and I’m not sure why. My mother made a few things with dates but it was never a star ingredient. I always assume my body has some vitamin deficiency which dates must fulfill.
While shopping at my favorite Asian market last week, I noticed a package of Iranian dates. At first, I was taken aback from the relatively inexpensive price (less than $2 for 11 ounces). When I touched the bag, I knew I was on to something good. They felt so moist and tender.
I brought the bag home and have been nibbling on individual, chewy dates. For some reason, I always think of dates in cookies. The chewy, moist texture the dates lend to baked goods in one I associate with cookies more than other baked goods.
Date Cookie Recipe Ideas from Around the Web
Fearing I might finish the dates before I actually made any cookies, I sent out a tweet for date cookie ideas. Most people offered date bar recipes with one suggestion for an incredible looking date nut pie.
- Date Crumb Bars and Date Pie suggested by Claire
- Date Nut Bars suggested by Elle
- Food for the Gods (date nut bars) which Mark emailed me
Unfortunately, the ideas didn’t satisfy my itch for cookies so I continued my hunt. I puttered around online and until I found a basic oatmeal date cookie recipe from Gourmet circa 1998.
In my pantry, I also had an orphaned 1/4 cup of dried cranberries which I decided to add to the cookies and figured they would lend a tart contrast, color, and more texture. To lighten the sweet thickness for which dates are known, I also added a teaspoon of fresh lemon zest to lighten things up.
In the end, I am pleased with the chewy, rich cookies which resulted. The lemon zest worked wonders and the cranberries went nicely with the dates. Unfortunately, the cranberries didn’t visually stand out as much as I had hoped they might.
Chewy Cranberry Date Cookies Recipe
adapted from Gourmet
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 large beaten egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 cup chopped, pitted dates
1/4 cup dried cranberries
- In a medium-sized pot, melt butter over medium heat, then remove pan from stove.
- Add brown sugar to butter, stirring until smooth.
- Add flour, baking soda, and salt to butter mixture and stir to combine.
- Add egg, vanilla, lemon zest, rolled oats, dates, and cranberries and stir to combine.
- Drop by spoonfuls onto a silpat-lined (or can use parchment) baking tray. I used a cookie scoop to speed along the process.
- Bake at 375F (190C) for 18 minutes or until golden.
- Cool on a wire rack then store in airtight container.
The cookies will be crisp on the edges and chewy in the middle. After storing in an airtight container for a few hours, the cookie moisture will distribute evenly through the container making each one super-chewy.
Joe (who isn’t a sweets lover) ate several of these in one afternoon. While eating the first one, he exclaimed, “These would make a really good hostess gift the next time we are invited to someone’s place for dinner.” He might be right. So, who want’s to invite us over and try out these cookies?