Orange Spice Date Pinwheels

INGREDIENTS

Dough
2 Cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 Cup butter, room temperature
1/2 Cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 Cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract, Bourbon Island

Filling
1 tsp Korintje Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Nutmeg, Ground
1/16 tsp Cloves, Ground
1 lb dates, cut into small pieces
1/2 Cup sugar
zest of 1 orange
1/2 Cup fresh orange juice
1/2 Cup walnuts, finely chopped in a food processor

STEPS

Dough
Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.  In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars with a mixer. Add egg and vanilla to the butter, and mix well. Add the dry ingredients to the butter-egg mixture. Divide dough in half, wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. (You can also freeze the dough until you need it – simply thaw in the refrigerator.)

Pat/roll each half of the dough into a rectangle that is 12″ x 8″ x 1/4″ thick. Mark the size on the rolling surface with painter’s tape, and roll the dough between pieces of wax paper. Cut off excess and patch to the corners, as needed, to achieve the rectangle shape.

Slide the dough, with the wax paper still attached, onto a cookie sheet and freeze it, lying flat.

Once both halves are rolled into the right-sized rectangle and frozen, you can cover them (don’t remove wax paper) with plastic wrap and keep frozen until you are ready to assemble the cookies.

Filling
Mix spices together in a small bowl. Combine dates, sugar, and orange juice in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat the mixture on low-medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens into a pudding-like consistency. The mixture will thicken as it cools, so be careful not cook all of the liquid out or it will be too stiff.
Remove pan from heat and allow to rest 10 minutes. Stir in spices, orange zest, and walnuts. Cool to room temperature.

Assembly
Work with one piece of rolled out dough directly from the freezer at a time. Carefully remove the top piece of wax paper from the frozen dough rectangle. Spread 1/2 of the cooled filling mixture on the dough, working carefully and quickly. Leave 1/2″ free and the top and bottom of the 8″ sides. Spread filling edge-to-edge on the 12″ sides.

Starting with a 8″ side, carefully roll the dough up with even pressure, peeling back the wax paper as necessary.
Seal the edge of the roll and use the remaining wax paper to seal it tightly. Freeze, turning the roll periodically to avoid flattening sides until the dough and filling is properly “set.” Wrap rolled-up filled dough spiral with plastic wrap and place in freezer while you repeat the filling-rolling process with the other half of the dough and filling.

Bake
Preheat oven to 450°F. Take one roll directly out of the freezer. Using a sharp knife, slice the dough into 1/4 inch thick pieces. Arrange the pinwheels on a cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Return any leftover cookie roll back to the freezer until you are ready to bake more.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until cookies are pale gold around the edges and just set.

This recipe comes from customer Amy K. of Des Moines, Iowa and it won 3rd Place at our 2018 Iowa State Fair Cookie Contest!