Date-and-nut brown sugar gems

(STYLING/KAROLINE BOEHM GOODNICK; erik jacobs for the boston globe)
By Lisa Yockelson
March 11, 2009

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Makes about 2 dozen

1 1/2cups flour
1/4teaspoon baking soda
1/4teaspoon salt
1teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4teaspoon ground allspice
12tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1cup light brown sugar
3tablespoons granulated sugar
2teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2pound pitted dates, coarsely chopped
1 1/4cups chopped walnuts (or pecans), lightly toasted and cooled completely

1. Set the oven at 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and allspice.

3. In an electric mixer, cream the butter on medium-low speed for 3 minutes. Add the light brown sugar and beat for 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and beat for 1 minute more.

4. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for 1 minute. On low speed, beat in the flour mixture in 2 additions, mixing just until the flour is absorbed. Scrape down the mixing bowl several times to keep the batter even-textured.

5. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand. With a wooden spoon, stir in the dates and walnuts.

6. Drop heaping 2-tablespoon mounds of dough on the baking sheets, setting them 2 inches apart. Keep the dough mounds even-sized, but do not flatten them or smooth the edges.

7. Bake the cookies for 18 minutes or until set. Let them stand on the baking sheets for 1 minute, then transfer them to wire racks to cool. Store in an airtight tin for up to 1 week.