Date Roll Cookies
There is much praise to give a cookie that is so versatile, you wonder if it has its own identity. The dough makes a great pie crust. If you’re rolling it up, the filling can be anything from chocolate spread to cookie butter to a dusting of cinnamon sugar. Its folds can handle a stuffing of nuts, bits of marzipan, or a crumble of halva. You know what I think about adding a crumble of halva.
But I like it most with a smear of date spread at its center. It’s sweet and delicate, but you the boss of that. All I can say is that they’re worth the effort in taste, and that’s coming from a girl who likes the stir, dump and bake kind of desserts, rather than the measure, knead, roll out type. Plus, they look especially cute coated in powdered sugar.
Oh, one thing about the dough. I debated whether I like the results with ¾ cups of oil or 1 full cup. I couldn’t decide so I’m also leaving that up to you. The full cup makes a sweaty dough that yields a soft, tender crumb. The other option yields a firmer crust. It was a good to excuse to make them over and over again until I could decide. Ultimately, I just couldn’t, which is probably the reason I’m an unfussy baker. The nuances drive me mad. Anyway, they freeze well. Enjoy.
Date Roll Cookies
makes 40-50 cookies
5 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup sugar
10g (2 teaspoons) vanilla sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup orange juice
1 egg white (optional)*
1 cup melted coconut oil or neutral oil such as sunflower
100g solid coconut oil (or another solid fat like butter or margarine), cut into chunks
450g date paste
Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Pour the orange juice, egg white, melted coconut oil and solid coconut oil and knead until a smooth dough forms. If the dough is too soft, add more flour a half cup at a time. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Roll out the dough into a long rectangle, smear the date paste and carefully roll lengthwise into a log. If the dough tears, just pinch it back in place. Place seam side down on the baking sheet. With a sharp knife, slice into 1 inch circles. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
Bake until golden brown, about 20-22 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Separate each cookie and lay it down sideways. Bake for an additional 5 minutes, until the inside is firm. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before dusting powdered sugar. Transfer cookies to an airtight container.
Note: You can also sprinkle some chopped walnuts, hazelnuts, ground coconut, halva, or chocolate chips over the date paste for extra flavor. I’ve also used chocolate spread instead of date paste. It’s chocolate, it works.
*If you have an egg allergy, leave out the egg white, I’ve made it without and it works just as well.
Freezer: Place in an airtight container, wrap with many layers of plastic wrap and store in freezer for up to 6 months. You can easily double up this recipe.