Friday, December 18, 2009

The Ultimate Christmas Cookie! Oranges & Dates & Pecans, Oh My!

It's been a busy week in the kitchen - one of those weeks where no photos are taken until it's too late! But, I do have pictures of the best baked good from the week - Orange-Date-Pecan Cookies. Yum! What smells more like the holidays than orange? Did you read the Little House books? Remember how excited the girls would be to get oranges in their stockings? Of course we can have oranges and almost any other fruit year-round, but there's still something very Christmassy about oranges - whether studded with cloves or baked into fabulous cakes and cookies or forming wreaths for the front door.

Photo from Country Living

If you like oranges and pecans, you'll love these cookies. They're great for a cookie swap because the recipe makes around 8 dozen (!) and they're uniform shapes which makes them easy to package. And needless to say, they're perfect with a hot cup of tea! (Once again I found photographing food to be a challenge! All I can say is that these are much prettier in real life.)

Orange-Date-Pecan Cookies (from a Southern Living Christmas book - 199?)

10 ounces pitted dates, chopped
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups self-rising flour (if using all-purpose, add 1 1/2 t. baking powder and 1/2 t. salt)
1 cup finely chopped pecans, divided (toasted, if desired)
  • Line a 9"x5"x3" loaf pan with aluminum foil, allowing foil to extend over edges of pan. Set aside
  • Finely chop first three ingredients - I do this on a cutting board, but you can also use a food processor
  • In large mixing bowl, beat butter at medium speed. Gradually add sugar, beating until blended. Add egg and vanilla, beat well. Add flour, beating at low speed just until blended.
  • Divide dough into three portions. Knead 1/2 cup pecans into one portion of dough. Press into prepared pan. Knead date mixture into one portion of dough. Press in pan over pecan mixture. Mix remaining pecans with remaining dough. Press in pan over date mixture. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.
  • Invert loaf pan onto cutting board and remove foil. Cut dough lengthwise into four portions. Cut each section of dough crosswise in 1/4" slices. Place slices 1 1/2" apart on lightly greased cookie sheet. (I never grease the cookie sheets and the cookies never stick . . . )
  • Bake at 350 for 9 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly and remove to racks.
Leah's notes: A loaf pan with straight sides works best. I often freeze part of the dough for several weeks (wrap in parchment paper, then a ziploc bag). In an airtight container, these will get softer (because of the dates) so you may want to let a little air circulate around them if you like them crunchy - or just eat them all the first day!

Hope your weekend includes some sweet treats!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails