Growing up, my mom would have an all-out baking binge session with my sister and I. It typically lasted a full weekend and we always had way more options for baked goods and candies than we really needed. But it quality time something we all loved to do. While I don’t get to bake like that with my mom anymore, my mom still likes to go all out for the holidays. Every year she will ask us what cookie we’d like her to make and every year my dad and I always pick the same one.
Date-filled sugar cookies.
If you have never had them, they are literally amazing. They feature a mild, chewy cookie with a soft center. No other date cookie we’ve tried has ever compared. This recipe came from the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook from 1960. And while the year doesn’t seem like it should be that important, it is. After this year it changed and it was never the same in the new additions of the cookbook. Unfortunately, my mom has used this cookbook so much that the page with this recipe fell out and was lost a few years ago.
That was until my dad, heartbroken he hadn’t had his beloved cookies in a while, did some research and found it online. Apparently we weren’t the only ones who loved this particular recipe.
Date Filled Sugar Cookies
(Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook circa 1960)
Yield: 2 1/2 dozen
1 cup shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups chopped dates
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 375°
Cream shortening and white and brown sugar. until fluffy. Add egg, milk, and vanilla, beating well. Sift dry ingredients together and add to creamed mixture. Mix well. Chill dough at least an hour.
Meanwhile, make date filling by combining chopped dates, sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add lemon juice and salt. Cool.
On floured surface (or pastry cloth), roll half of the dough at a time to a little less than 1/8 inch. Cut with 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter. (Recipe recommends cutting a small hole in the center of half the cookies for the top with a thimble. My mom has always skipped this step.) Place 1 tablespoon of prepared date filling in the center of each plain cookie bottom. Top with another round cookie (with small hole if you are following original recipe). Press the edges of each filled cookie together with the tip of a fork to seal. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 375° for about 10 to 12 minutes.
The ironic thing about this recipe? My mom hates dates. My mom has made these for so many years, just to make my dad happy. And while I might think people are crazy for not loving this cookie, it is alright by my dad and I. Just more cookies for us!