Inspired by a recipe in The Fannie Farmer Baking Book, these bite-sized confections makes use of the fresh walnut and date harvests that are at Southern California markets right now. A drizzle of brown butter glaze on top, plus a pinch of fleur de sel make these little nuggets the perfect holiday bite.
Keep reading for the full recipe…
Brown Butter-Glazed Caramel Date and Walnut Rolls
Adapted from The Fannie Farmer Baking Book by Marion Cunningham (Grammercy, 1996)
These cookie-confections are perfect for the holidays: somewhere between a filled cookie and a See’s bonbon, they feature seasonal ingredients and freeze well. I learned to make them from the late Marion Cunningham who wrote several Fannie Farmer cookbooks. I’ve reworked the recipe from The Fannie Farmer Baking Book (Grammercy, 1996), reducing the amount of sugar, browning the butter for the glaze to reflect the way Marion liked to make these at home, and adding a sprinkle of fleur de sel at the finish. Khadrawy, Halawy, Honey, or Deglet date varieties yield a perfect bite-size cookie.
Makes 5 dozen cookies.
60 moist dates (1 pound), pitted
60 walnut halves or about 1 ½ cups large walnut pieces
4 tablespoons butter, softened
½ cup light brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
½ cup sour cream
1 ¼ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
Brown Butter Glaze (see below)
Fleur de Sel for finishing
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stuff each date with a walnut half or 2 or 3 pieces. Beat butter until creamy, slowly add sugar, beating until smooth and blended. (I like to use a bowl and wooden spoon instead of an electric mixer.) Add egg, beat well, and stir in sour cream. Stir together dry ingredients and add to butter mixture, beating just until smooth.
Dip each stuffed date into batter and place on ungreased or parchment-lined cookie sheet, leaving about 1 inch between dates. Batter will not form a smooth coating over dates, but will look patchy. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly golden around edges. Transfer to cooling rack set over a sheet pan and drizzle glaze over date rolls while still warm. Sprinkle a few grains of fleur de sel over each cookie. Cool completely before packing into gift bags. May be frozen up to 2 months.
Brown Butter Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
6 tablespoons butter
¼ cup cold water
Sift sugar. Heat butter in saucepan over medium heat, swirling pan until butter is nut brown (the butter will foam and then clear). Remove from heat and stir in sugar and water. Return the pan to the heat and cook until the mixture becomes a syrupy glaze.