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 sharp 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.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
 

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Spooky Halloween Cupcake Toppers

Spooky Halloween Cupcake Toppers || @runwaychef #halloween #dessert While I often craft ridiculous schemes to festively celebrate a holiday, the sad reality is that I never have time to properly execute any of my plans. Staying festive is a must for me so I like to come up with ways to celebrate holidays that don’t require much effort or time. This year, Halloween snuck up on me like a ghost in the night (pun intended) so I haven’t even had time to do my last-minute Halloween decorations. However, haunted dirt cake and spooky cupcake toppers are something I can definitely squeeze into my schedule (because who doesn’t have time to eat dessert?!). The only requirements- cupcakes, candy and a huge sweet tooth. Feel free to use any type of cupcake (homemade, mix, pre-made) you wish. For my cupcakes I made my Never Fail Chocolate Cake, but baked it in cupcake shapes, obviously, (bake for 20 minutes at 350; makes 12 cupcakes), and then I made a salted caramel buttercream to frost them with. Keep scrolling to see how I created the spooky halloween cupcake toppers.

Spooky Halloween Cupcake Toppers || @runwaychef #halloween #dessert Spooky Halloween Cupcake Toppers || @runwaychef #halloween #dessert Ghost // Meringue ghost (read how to make them here) + cotton candy (found in the Halloween section of Target)

Spooky Halloween Cupcake Toppers || @runwaychef #halloween #dessert Spider // Black raspberry gummy + thin black licorice cut into pieces

Spooky Halloween Cupcake Toppers || @runwaychef #halloween #dessert Bloody Mummy // Cherry candy ribbon (use a little extra frosting to help the pieces stick in place) + black sixlets

Spooky Halloween Cupcake Toppers || @runwaychef #halloween #dessert Tombstone // Meringue tombstone (read how to make them here) + cotton candy

Spooky Halloween Cupcake Toppers || @runwaychef #halloween #dessert Spooky Eyes // Half of an Oreo cookie + sixlets

Spooky Halloween Cupcake Toppers || @runwaychef #halloween #dessert Tombstone II // Same as the first tombstone, except I cut this cupcake in half, attached some gummy worms with frosting, then placed the top back on to make the worms appear as if they were crawling from the dirt

 

Haunted Halloween Dirt Cake

Haunted Halloween Dirt Cake || @runwaychef #halloween #desserts The theme of this week’s kitchen adventures has revolved entirely around easy and fun Halloween treats (secondary theme- becoming the Michelin Man for next Friday’s costume….because after eating all these sweets that is exactly what I will look like). The first “spooky” treats are these haunted dirt cakes. Wait, don’t run away. They’re only haunted with dreams of 6-pack abs, vegetables left untouched, and forgotten workout clothes. They aren’t actually haunted. I never know if you guys know not to take me seriously like ever so I thought it best to clarify. Moving right along….So dirt cakes. Everyone loves them because it’s basically cookies, cream and chocolate and who doesn’t love those things?! And if everyone doesn’t love them, well, more for you (or me)! This recipe is a bit different than the one I used for the edible flower dirt cakes, but it’s still just as tasty. Also, this recipe doubles or triples really well in case you’re having a Halloween party (or just a party of one, either is fine by me).

Hope you all have a great weekend! If you need me, I’ll be hiding out on a beach drinking away the fact that I’m in a swimsuit after a week of dessert recipe testing…oy vey!

Haunted Halloween Dirt Cake || @runwaychef #halloween #desserts Haunted Halloween Dirt Cake || @runwaychef #halloween #desserts Haunted Halloween Dirt Cake || @runwaychef #halloween #desserts

Haunted Halloween Dirt Cakes

2/3s of a package of Oreos
1/2 package of cream cheese (4 ounces)
1 cup of heavy cream

Gummy worms
Cotton candy (I found some in the Target Halloween section)
Meringue ghosts and tombstones (see recipe below)

For the “dirt”- In a cuisinart, pulse the Oreos for about 10 seconds. Add in the cream cheese and continue pulsing until the ingredients have combined. Make sure not to pulse too long or the mixture will form together and become pasty. Also, the cookie pieces should be somewhat chunky and not too fine. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. This should equal about 2 cups of whipped cream. Gently fold the cookie mixture into the cream mixture until combined.

To serve- Scoop the dirt into serving dishes. I really like using martini glasses as it allows the “worms” to hang over the edge. Bury a few gummy worms into each dish, draping them over the edge. Top with cotton candy and a meringue or tombstone ghost. Serve right away. The meringue will soften slightly and the cotton candy will start to “melt” after it sits for a little while.

To make the meringue- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat together 3 egg whites in a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a mixer) on medium-high speed until frothy. Add in 1/2 cup of white sugar and increase the speed to high. Beat until stiff peaks form, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Transfer the egg whites to a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe large swirls and tombstone shapes onto the baking sheet. Bake until dry, about 1 hour. Turn the oven off and let the meringue cool, in the oven, completely (you can even leave them in there overnight).

To make the eyes and RIP lettering, melt a few chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. I did a little less than 1/4 cup of chips, which was more than enough. Microwave the chips until they are melted. Using a toothpick, gently dot eyes onto the ghosts and spell out RIP.  FYI, it looks better if it’s a little messy. 

 

Coffee Toffee Crunch Sundaes

Coffee Toffee Crunch Sundaes @runwaychef I know summer is unofficially over, but I still find it hard to believe. I mean, did you feel the humidity on Saturday? It was so thick it made my paper-thin blouse feel like 10 down comforters were wrapped around me then I was placed in a hot bath next to a fire while drinking hot chocolate. I wish I was kidding. Fall or no fall, there was only one thing that was getting me through that humidity- ice cream. What started as just coffee ice cream became ice cream with chips (Have you guys tried these?! They’re so good, especially on ice cream!), and then toffee was added and of course we needed a little whipped cream and caramel sauce, because duh, and before you know it we had a coffee toffee crunch ice cream sundae. I feel as though I can hardly call this ice cream sundae a recipe because we simply threw on a little of this and a little of that, but the results were just too good not to share. And if that’s not a good enough excuse, than I’ll use the excuse that these are the official RC birthday week treat. Except I want to eat these for more than just this week. I want to eat these all year long. Yes, even into winter. I mean do you really think I let a season stop me from eating something, especially when it involves ice cream?! So while everyone else has already moved on to their apple pies and PSL’s (blogger lingo for “pumpkin spice lattes”), I’m going to continue to be all about that ice (cream), ’bout that ice (cream), no pumpkin (and yes, I put my writing to the tune of songs….totally normal, right?!).

Coffee Toffee Crunch Sundaes @runwaychef Coffee Toffee Crunch Sundaes @runwaychef Coffee Toffee Crunch Sundaes @runwaychef

Coffee Toffee Crunch Sundaes
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. Coffee ice cream
  2. Toffee
  3. Whipped cream
  4. Cappuccino chips (regular potato chips would work well too)
  5. Salted caramel Sauce (see the notes for an easy recipe)
Instructions
  1. Scoop ice cream into a serving bowl. Top with crushed toffee and chip pieces. Add on a dollop of whipped cream and drizzle with caramel sauce. Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. For the whipped cream, I used homemade unsweetened whipped cream. Everything else in the sundae is pretty sweet so I found I could do without the extra sugar in the whipped cream.
  2. To make your own caramel sauce (recipes makes about 1/2 a cup)- In a medium-size saucepan over medium heat add 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Stir constantly until the sugar melts and turns golden brown (it will take a few minutes and the sugar will begin to harden and clump together first). Once the sugar is melted immediately add 3 tbsp. of butter (be careful as it will sizzle). Continue stirring (very important to stir constantly) until the butter is melted and the mixture begins to bubble and boil (again, be very careful). Slowly add in a 1/4 cup of cold heavy whipping cream then remove from the heat and stir for one more minute. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Allow to cool before using. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks (although it probably won't last that long!).
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/

Cappuccino Popsicles

Cappuccino Popsicles @runwaychef This post started out as something entirely different, something having to do with iced coffee (and lots of it). But then I took too many pictures of these cappuccino popsicles and realized that they were just too darn pretty to get anything but their own post. That and the fact that anytime a dessert can double as breakfast it obviously needs to be showcased. After all, it’s not often that you can have dessert for your morning meal (at least without anyone judging you). When it comes to these popsicles, though, you most certainly can have one for breakfast. In fact, have two or three while you’re at it. Live a little. It’s Friday and you deserve a treat for getting through the week. Besides, doesn’t ‘morning popsicle’ sound so much better than ‘morning coffee’?!

Cappuccino Popsicles @runwaychef Cappuccino Popsicles @runwaychef Cappuccino Popsicles @runwaychef

Cappuccino Popsicles (w/Vegan, Dairy-Free Option)
A cold and refreshing twist on your morning cup of coffee
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Ingredients
  1. Coffee or espresso that has been brewed and cooled (I like to use cold brew coffee concentrate)
  2. Heavy Cream, half-and-half, milk, or, for a Vegan & Dairy-free option almond milk or coconut milk
  3. Sugar (optional)
  4. Vanilla (optional)
Instructions
  1. I feel almost silly writing out this recipe because it's so easy I don't even know if it can count as a recipe. To start make your first coffee layer. In the bottom of a popsicle mold or dixie cups, pour a small layer of coffee. Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
  2. While the first layer is freezing, prep your cream layer. This is where the recipe becomes really flexible and can truly be adjusted to your needs and taste preferences. If you're vegan and health conscious, use the almond or coconut milk. The coconut milk will produce a more creamy texture while the almond milk will produce popsicles with a more ice-y texture. For the popsicles pictured, I used a mixture of 1 part 2% milk to 1 part heavy cream. To this mixture feel free to add sugar and vanilla, again based on your taste preferences. I prefer very little additional flavor so I added about 1 teaspoon of vanilla and about 1 tablespoon of sugar for 2 cups of cream/milk mixture.
  3. After the first layer has been freezing for 30 minutes, add on a thin cream layer and place the popsicles back in the freezer for 30 minutes. At this time you will want to gently place popsicle sticks in the center of each popsicle if you are using dixie cups.
  4. Continue alternately adding layers of coffee and cream, making sure to freeze in between each one for at least 30 minutes.
  5. When you're ready to eat a popsicle simply run it under hot water for a few seconds to loosen from the mold or to help you more easily peel off the dixie cup.
Notes
  1. If you are using dixie cups, I find it is easier to line them up in glass baking dish. It makes taking them in and out of the freezer much more seamless.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/

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