These cookies are perfect, and I don’t say that lightly. They are a bakery staple I grew up with but only love the homemade version. The tender shortbread-ish crust wraps around sweet, sticky date paste in a union that even chocolate can’t improve. Make them plain first. After that (because there will be repeats), load them with halva, nuts, marzipan, chocolate chips; they handle it all. The powdered sugar dusts them beautifully, like a fresh blanket of snow. One batch makes plenty, so share the love.
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Makes 40 cookies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with Gefen Parchment Paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, vanilla sugar, and salt. Add orange juice, egg white, oil and solid coconut oil; knead until a smooth dough forms. You can also use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Shape dough into a ball; cover and refrigerate 20 minutes.
Divide dough into four. On a lightly floured surface, working with one portion at a time, roll out into a 14- x 12-inch rectangle, smear with one fourth of the date spread, and carefully roll lengthwise into a tight log. If the dough tears, pinch it back in place. With a sharp knife, slice into one-inch pieces. Place cookies on the baking sheet, close together. Repeat with remaining dough, adding preferred toppings over the date spread before rolling (see variation).
Bake until golden brown, 24 to 26 minutes. Remove from oven; allow to cool completely before dusting with powdered sugar. Transfer cookies to an airtight container; they will stay fresh for up to five days. Or double wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for up to three months.
If necessary, you can omit the egg white.
Sprinkle chopped, roasted nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, macadamia, etc.), ground coconut, marzipan, shredded halva, or chocolate chips over the date paste for extra flavor. You can use fruit jams, chocolate spread, or lotus or nut butters instead of the date paste. The possibilities are endless, have fun!
Reproduced from Good Food by Sina Mizrahi with permission from the copyright holders ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications, LTD.