One gift I was really surprised and happy to receive was the box set of Little House On the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I love reading about life in the 1800s and how simple, yet extremely difficult it was. Thank you to my wonderful, Mother-in-law!
This year, I didn't bake as many Christmas cookies as I normally do. I'm afraid to even tell you that I didn't make cut-outs this year. I know! What is wrong with me?? I participated in two cookie exchanges and that gave me the variety I needed for the Season. Because of Christmas parties and gatherings, I've had a cut-out or two, so my craving for them has been met. (And not having cut-outs in the house is better for my lack of self-control.)
There a few cookies that make me think of Christmas: frosted cut-outs, Spritz, Pepperkakar (Swedish gingerbread) and Date-Nut bars.
I don't think my Mom always made Date-Nut bars. I don't remember them much growing up, but then again, I was a super picky eater and so I probably just blocked them out of my memory because they had dates in them. I didn't even like raisins as a kid. What was my problem??
Now, being almost thirty, I love Date-Nut Bars! They are chewy, with a wonderful blend of spices. Even though my Mom has made them and they will be at her house when we visit, my husband wanted me to make a batch. The recipe is my Grandma Waite's Molasses Crinkle cookie with walnuts and dates mixed in. To make them into bars, the dough is shaped in a different way.
3/4 c. shortening
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. molasses
1/4 c. sugar
2 1/4 c. flour
1/4 t. salt
2 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cloves
1/2 t. ginger
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped
1/2 c. dates, chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix shortening and sugars. Add molasses and egg. Add dry ingredients.
Stir in walnuts and dates until well incorporated.
Divide the dough in half and flatten out each half into a rectangle.
*My Mom usually brushes water on top of the dough, and sprinkles on sugar. This step was somehow left out when I asked for the recipe. Waah, waah...
Bake for 14 minutes.
Once out of the oven, cut it in half down the middle and into small bars.
The dough will continue to bake on the sheet, so if it looks under done in the middle, it will set up just fine.
Allow to cool before breaking the bars apart.
It's really hard to wait.
What cookies make you think of Christmas?