Minnesota Cooking: Stuffed Date Cookies—but With a Little Fun
When I was a kid, my aunt lived in California, and for Christmas, she'd mail us this massive care package of assorted Amport date products. It was fun. There was a fancy little two pronged fork that came with them, and it was for stabbing them out of the box. Those dates were sticky.
I loved them! So, of course, once in a while I get nostalgic for date cookies and will purchase the ingredients to make some. In my mind's eye, I pictured date balls with powdered sugar or the like and found a recipe on the back of the box for stuffed date balls.
Well. I may have purchased all the things to make them, but I got a little sidetracked.
- 2 boxes whole pitted dates
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 tsp. allspice
- 1 cup pecan pieces
- Melt butter, add brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. Stir until smooth. In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon and allspice together.
- Mix the flour mixture to the brown sugar mixture. Stir well.
- Cut the dough ball into pieces, for easier smaller ball making
- pick up small dough ball, squish flat, add a whole date to it, cover the date with dough and roll ball in hands. Place on ungreased pan. Add some date hair to the one side of the ball and add two eyes to the spot below the date hair.
- Bake at 375 for 12 minutes, or until the top of the cookies start to crack
- Remove from oven, let cool for a moment, then loosen from the pan with a spatula.
- You can eat them or place in a box with wax paper between the layers.
The Original Recipe
The original recipe for these are on the box. It's called Date Stuffed Spice Balls. You mix up your cookie dough. Then, you cut a date in half and place a pecan half inside the date. Then, you roll the date inside the cookie. Then you bake it for 12 minutes. Then you roll in sugar.
That sounded so dull and boring, so I changed it up a bit.I took a round ball of dough and flattened it slightly and placed a whole date on it and started covering the date completely.
I used my garlic press to squeeze the other dates into long strips. I made noodle looking pieces that I attached to the one side of the dough ball. I then poked two pecan pieces in the dough ball next to each other. Voila. A face with hair.
I did not roll my cookies in extra sugar at the end, because I ended up with sweet date on the inside and outside and did not think it was necessary to coat them with additional sugar.
According to the package, dates contain quite a bit of natural sugar without the extra sugar added.
The Flour and Spices
I measured out the flour into a small bowl and added my other dry ingredients to it. The baking powder, the cinnamon and the allspice. Note: there is no salt in this recipe. I didn't notice that until I was mixing the bowl of flour and saw that they left it out.
You can set this bowl aside while you are getting your other ingredients mixed together.
The Main Bowl
I started with a stick and a half of butter. I put it in the large bowl and placed it in the microwave for a few seconds until the butter was starting to cave in.
Now, you place your brown sugar in the bowl and your vanilla and your two eggs. Stir that all around until it is smooth. Then, add your flour mixture on top of the sugar mixture. Stir around.
The original person used a mixer with a mixing bowl, but I decided not to. I used a wooden spoon to stir mine.
Garlic Press With Date Inside
I used my garlic press to press the date into small strings. Almost like little date noodles. I picked up a cluster of them to use for hair for my little cookie dollies.
Getting Dough Ready
So all of my balls were uniform, I took a knife and sliced and divided my dough ball. I took each cut piece and put a date inside it.
The original ball I started with, had a date that I cut in half and placed a couple pieces of pecan inside of it. That was okay, but that's when I decide to put the pecan pieces on the outside for eyes and put the date on the inside of the cookie and the pressed date pieces on the outside.
Pick up a few strands of date hair and place on the top of the ball. I tried a few strands as a moustache, but I couldn't get it to look right.
I thought about a beard, but again, I couldn't get it to look right. I'm just going to leave it at understated.
You and I know it's hair.
Decorating the Ball with Eyes
Pick up a few strands of pressed date and put around the top of the dough ball. Take two pecan pieces and press them into the space directly below the date hair. This will be your dolly eyeballs.
Like other cookies, place on ungreased sheet, leaving space between them for expansion when baking. They will flatten out and almost double in area size.
These are Cute
I have to giggle when I look at them. I'm bringing a pan full of them to work tomorrow to share with my lunch buddies. They'll get a kick out of them, as well.