Christmas time has all the best foods. I’ve already posted two differently spiced gingerbread recipes (Swedish Pepparkakor and German Lebkuchen) but sometimes you want a festive biscuit that’s a bit less complex to make. These Spiced Orange and Date Cookies are flavoured with all-spice and nutmeg which gives them warmth and depth without overpowering the orange and date.
Dates are particularly Christmassy for me, as they’re one of my mum’s favourite foods. We still get her a box for her stocking every year. Dates go so well with orange, and I stuck some orange liquor in for good measure. Christmas is a time for a bit of extra booze anyway.
As with most cookies, these are massively improved by a good sprinkle of flaked sea salt to bring together all of the flavours and really make them pop. Don’t leave it out, even if you have a really long Christmas baking list!
These would make a lovely Christmas present wrapped up in greaseproof paper with a bow. Because they’re soft and spiced the flavour develops over time and they will keep for a while, if you don’t eat them all – they’re really moreish!
Recipe: Spiced Orange and Date Cookies (adapted from Lady & Pups)
425g dates, no stones. You can use as little as 300g, but the closer you can get to 425g the stickier they will be)
3tbsp orange liquor
170g melted butter
190g brown sugar
50g caster sugar
zest 1 orange
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
250g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbanate of soda
1/2 tsp table salt
1tsp all spice
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
flaky salt for sprinkling
- Blitz the date in a food processor. You want them broken down but not a paste. Add the orange liquor and leave to steep. You can do this a few days in advance and just leave it to one side.
- Preheat the oven to 170C.
- Whisk together the melted butter, sugars and orange zest until smooth.
- Beat in the eggs.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, spices, salt and bicarb. Add to the butter mixture and beat until just combined.
- Break up the date mix with a spoon and mix into the cookie dough.
- Line baking trays. Get a small bowl or dish and pour in a little neutral flavoured oil.
- Take a heaped teaspoon of the dough and roll into a ball, place on the lined tray. Dip your fingers in the oil and push out the ball in a circle into a large flat disk. The oil helps your fingers not stick.
- Bake one tray at a time for 11-12 minutes each until the edges start to brown. They harden up a little when cooled but the centre stays nice and soft.