Date Pinwheel Cookies

Date Pinwheel Cookies || Runway Chef I wanted to write something totally profound and mind blowing to entice you into making these cookies, but the only thing that keeps coming to my mind is, wait for it, it’s totally epic…. “Roll Out”….as in the Ludacris song, not as in “rolling out the dough”. I think it came into my head as I was rolling out the dough for these pinwheel cookies, and it hasn’t left my head since. That was 2 days ago. Also, it should be noted that the only lyrics in my head are “Roll out! Roll out! Roll out!” because I don’t actually know any of the lyrics to the song, nor can I rap. So besides those two little words, the only thing that’s stuck in a blog post that has now been written and rewritten 4 times is that I love these cookies….like a lot….a lot, a lot, a lot. But I bet you already figured that out, because weird, I only put things I love on here (funny concept, I know). Like many of the recipes I share, these date pinwheel cookies are a recipe that my family has been making for years. And for all those years they’ve stayed firmly planted at the top of my list of favorite Christmas cookies, right between Russian Tea Cakes and Rum Balls. With a buttery dough that becomes crunchy while it bakes and a filling that is sticky sweet, it’s hard not to put these at the top of a favorites list. Go on. I dare you. 

Date Pinwheel Cookies || Runway Chef Date Pinwheel Cookies || Runway Chef Date Pinwheel Cookies || Runway Chef Date Pinwheel Cookies || Runway Chef Date Pinwheel Cookies || Runway Chef

Date Pinwheel Cookies
Yields 36
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
FILLING
  1. 1 pound dates, pitted and chopped
  2. 1/2 cup water
  3. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  4. 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
DOUGH
  1. 1/2 cup butter
  2. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  3. 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  6. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  7. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Start by making the filling. Combine the dates, water, and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened and the water has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the nuts, and set aside to cool (you can put the mixture in the fridge to speed up the cooling).
  2. To make the dough, cream the butter and sugars together in the bowl of a stand mixer, on medium speed.
  3. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined.
  4. In a separate smaller bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Then mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and keep mixing on medium speed until everything is well-combined and the dough is smooth.
  5. Divide the dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap, then allow the dough to refrigerate for about 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the dough from the fridge. On a floured surface roll one half of the dough out into a rough rectangular shape that is about 1/4 inch thick. Spread half of the date mixture over the entire surface of the dough, then roll up, lengthwise, like a jelly roll. Set aside and repeat the process with the other half of the dough. Wrap both dough logs in plastic wrap and allow them to chill in the refrigerator until firm, at least 30 minutes.
  7. When you are ready to bake the cookies, turn the oven on to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat (I prefer the parchment paper for these as the filling can get a bit sticky).
  8. Remove the cookie logs from the fridge and, using a shape knife, cut the dough into 1/4 inch slices. Place the slices about an inch apart on the cookie sheet, then bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the dough turns golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cookie rack.
  9. Store the cookies in an airtight container.
Notes
  1. I used Medjool dates to make these but I recommend using whatever is cheapest as you'll be chopping them up and cooking them down.
  2. These cookies taste best within the first two days of baking so I usually like to only slice of a few at a time and keep the rest of the dough tightly wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge until I'm ready to use it. The uncooked dough will last about 2 weeks in the fridge and about 1 month in the freezer, as long as it is well wrapped in plastic wrap.
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Rosemary Lime Cornmeal Cookies

Rosemary Lime Cornmeal Cookies || Runway Chef I’ve pretty much never met a cookie that I haven’t liked (or really any sweet treat for that matter because, let’s be real, my sweet tooth is ginormous-with-a-capital-G). But when it comes to making cookies, I pretty much stick to one thing- chocolate chip. How boring and unoriginal of me. You see, my brain comes up with all these grand ideas for this cookie and that cookie, but then my tastebuds are all like “I just want chocolate chip.” Until my taste buds had one of these and then they were all like “watermelon + chocolate don’t mix on 90 degree days”. And now this is getting weird, because my tastebuds are talking (What? Yours don’t?!) and I’m not quite even sure what we’re talking about anymore. Oh yeah, cookies. So after making these, I wanted to eat the leftover granita for dessert, but I also wanted a little something to go along with it. I remembered these cookies that my Mom used to make that consisted of cornmeal and lime and had a light buttery, texture, which is perfect for summer and to go along side fruit-based desserts. Of course, growing up I only had eyes for my chocolate chip cookies, so I wasn’t always so keen on these cornmeal ones, but I didn’t mind them either. Armed with a bushel of limes (don’t even ask how we got that many), I set out to find a recipe to replicate these cookies for my now-reformed tastebuds. Mr. RC and I finished half the batch in about a day (what butter??!), so it’s safe to say that the chocolate chip cookies might not be so safe in their number one spot…

What’s your favorite type of cookie?

Rosemary Lime Cornmeal Cookies || Runway Chef cornmeal cookies cornmeal cookie recipe citrus cornmeal cookies butter cookies

Rosemary Lime Cornmeal Cookies
Yields 36
A light and buttery cookie with just a hint of flavor that's perfect for summer
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
18 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
18 min
Total Time
1 hr 45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  2. 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  3. The juice of two limes
  4. The zest of one lime
  5. 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  6. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  7. 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal + extra cornmeal for rolling
  8. 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  9. Granulated sugar
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugar, on medium speed, until smooth. Add the lime juice, zest, and rosemary, and mix to combine, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. With the speed turned down to low, add in the flour, cornmeal, and salt and mix just until combined.
  2. Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a log that's about 1 1/2" in diameter. Wrap each log in plastic wrap (I usually wrap mine in the empty butter wrappers first), and then refrigerate until cold (about one hour; you can speed up this process by placing the logs in the freezer).
  3. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Sprinkle a cutting board with extra cornmeal and granulated sugar (I did about 2 tablespoons of each) and then roll the logs in the mixture to coat them. Slice the logs into approximately 1/4 inch rounds, and place them about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with a silpat mat or parchment paper. Bake until the edges just start to brown and the cookies are golden, about 18-25 minutes (depending on your oven). Cool on sheet. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Notes
  1. Rosemary can be omitted and other citrus flavors, such as orange or lemon, can be used in place of the lime.
  2. Not all of the cookies have to be baked at once; you can keep an unbaked log in the fridge for up to a month or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Just make sure the logs stay tightly sealed in plastic wrap.
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
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Mini Rosewater Whoopie Pies

Mini Rosewater Whoopie Pies - Runway Chef What’s better than one cookie? Two cookies, of course. And what’s better than two cookies? Cookies with frosting smack dab in the middle of them, obvs. So it kind of makes sense that whoopie pies would be such a popular little cookie. Although is it really a cookie? The pie name always throws me off. And the fact that it tastes like a mini cake makes me think ‘whoopie cake’ would somehow have made a better suited name (not ‘gob’ or ‘bob’, as Wikipedia would like to say). Regardless of what it’s called, I will never say no to anything with frosting in the middle. To sweeten these babies up for a Valentine’s Day treat, I made just a few simple tweaks (a dash of pink food coloring in the cookie batter, a splash of rosewater in the frosting), making these easy cookies an extra-special treat for your extra-special someone.

mini whoopee pies with rosewater cream Mini Rosewater Whoopie Pies - Runway Chef pink whoopie pies rosewater cream rosewater frosting rosewater whoopie pies mini whoopie pies vanilla whoopie pies with rosewater cream pink whoopie pies

Mini Rosewater Whoopie Pies
Yields 25
A sweet rosewater cream enveloped by two mini vanilla cakes make up these delicious pink whoopie pies
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
7 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
7 min
Total Time
1 hr
For the cookies
  1. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  2. 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  3. 1/2 a teaspoon of salt
  4. 1/2 a tablespoon of vanilla
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  7. 1/3 cup milk (I use 2%)
  8. Food coloring (optional; I like the gel type, which can be seen in the 'Kitchen Necessities' below)
For the rosewater cream
  1. 2 egg whites
  2. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1/2 a teaspoon of cream of tartar
  4. 1/2 a teaspoon of rosewater
To make the cookies
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet (or two if you have them) with either parchment paper or silpat mats.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the sugar and butter until creamy. Continue mixing while you add in the baking powder, salt, and vanilla. Then add in the egg, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you mix.
  3. Finally, add in the milk and flour alternately. Start with a little flour, then a little milk, and repeat until you have added the entire amount. If you are using food coloring, you can also add the desired amount at this time. Mix until everything is well combined. The batter at this point will be thick and fluffy.
  4. Scoop the batter by heaping teaspoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets, making sure to leave about 1" in between each cookie.
  5. Bake for 6-7 minutes, or until they are springy to the touch. Transfer to a cooling rack.
To make the rosewater cream
  1. Place the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in a heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the water doesn't directly touch the bowl. Whisk vigorously for 3-4 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved and the egg whites have turned white and started to grow in size.
  2. Remove the bowl from the hot water and place on the mixer stand. With the whisk attachment on, begin beating the egg whites on low. Gradually continue to increase the speed, until it's on high. Continue whisking until the volume has doubled and the egg whites are stiff. Add the rosewater and mix well. In total, you will mix your egg whites for about 10-12 minutes.
To assemble the cookies
  1. Once the cookies have cooled, lay out your cookie halves. Place a generous teaspoon of frosting on half the cookies. Place the other half of the cookies on top. Let set for at least an hour before serving.
Notes
  1. Store in an airtight container. These taste best on the first day, but will stay fresh up to two days.
  2. I also tried these with several other fillings (a rosewater buttercream, which can be seen in some of the pictures above, and a rosewater cream cheese frosting). The rosewater marshmallow/seven minute frosting was my favorite (hence why it is the one I chose to gave you the recipe for), but feel free to change the filling based on your taste preferences.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
Kitchen Necessities

Rum Balls

Rum Balls

If my middle school chocolate loving self and my college rum loving self were to have created a cookie, these rum balls very well could have been the result. I mean, can it get any better than eating your alcohol disguised as a cookie made from chocolate? I’m going to go with probably not. And since I know you agree with me, here is the recipe (as promised in today’s morning post).

P.S. These are one of the easiest Christmas cookies to make and they also work really well as a last-minute Christmas gift…if you have any left ;)

Rum Balls Christmas Cookie

Rum Balls

1 1/2 cups crushed chocolate wafers (about 30 cookies)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup corn syrup
3 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
Powdered sugar for dusting

 

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Use your hands to thoroughly mix all ingredients (you’re going to be getting down and dirty in this step!) until the ingredients are sticking together (and probably sticking to your fingers). Roll the dough into 1″ balls, then roll them in powdered sugar. Store in an air tight container.

Notes:

  • For the chocolate wafers, I use the Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers, which can usually be found in the ice-cream section of your grocery store. They are somewhat difficult to track down so I’ve substituted with other chocolate wafers or other wafer flavors such as Anna’s Orange Thins.
  • To grind both the crackers and the nuts, I have found a cuisinart to work best.

A family recipe

Christmas Cookies 2013

Christmas Cookies The amount of time (or, I should probably say lack there of) between Thanksgiving and Christmas has really thrown me for a loop as far as preparing for the holidays is concerned. We’re still putting the finishing touches on our decorating, and while I normally make a large variety of Christmas cookies, we only had time to make a few this year.

When I was younger, I remember my Mom’s Christmas cookie list extended a couple pages…and then some. My sister and I would help her pick which ones from the list we should bake. Apparently, one year, my idea of picking was to basically copy the whole list onto another sheet of paper (yes, I wanted to make ALL the cookies…that should not surprise you!). I’m sure my (sad/angry/pouty) reaction to my Christmas cookie list getting cut was the same then as it was when I had to cut my list this year. Just like the Christmas cookies we bake every year, some things never change….

Russian Tea Cake Cookies Russian Tea Cakes

Russian Tea Cakes have always been a staple Christmas cookie in my family. Not a Christmas goes by where a batch (or 2…or 3) of these aren’t made.

Rum Balls

Rum Balls Christmas Cookies

Rum Balls look like chocolate donut holes, but taste waaaaaay better than any chocolate donut I’ve ever had….obviously because there is rum in them. Chocolate + rum= cookie! Since I know you can’t say ‘No’ to that combo, get the recipe here and go whip up a batch ASAP!

Thumbprint Christmas Cookies

Thumbprint cookies

Thumbprints aren’t a Christmas cookie that’s on my “have to have them” list, but the Mr. requested them and when he suggested filling some with cookie butter and nutella, along with the traditional jelly filling, I couldn’t say no. And now that they’re baked, I still can’t seem to say no….(I think I’m going to need to add a pair of sweatpants to my Christmas list).

Sugar Cookies Sugar Cookies for Christmas Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies are another Christmas cookie that I don’t always feel compelled to make but for the sake of simplicity (and to test out our new cookie cutters) they made the cut on this year’s cookie list. I had visions of piling on frosting and sprinkling on pretty decorations, but again simplicity won out, and I just drizzled them with a glaze and tossed on a few festive sprinkles. This recipe makes some delicious cookies, and goes to show, that simple can taste just as good as fancy.

Have you done any Christmas cookie baking? Are there any family recipes, or special cookies that you make every year?