We are introduced, at an early age, to the sweet wondernous of a cookie. From teething cookies to soothe the swollen aching gums of incoming incisors, onto animal crackers purchased in rectangular-shaped boxes bearing a string handle for easy toting by little fingers. Deciding which part of the animal should be eaten first-the trunk of the elephant or the tail of a lion-depended on how hungry one was. Savor each and every one or simply gobble them down as fast as possible.

My next cookie memory would be the ever famous, possibly all-time favorite, the chocolate chip cookie. There is nothing better than to bite into a round circle of baked dough sprinkled with gooey melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. A chocolate chip cookie can dry tears, heal broken hearts, mend scraped knees and elbows and solve sibling arguments. Most of the problems in the world could likely be solved by a properly baked, right out of the oven, chocolate chip cookie. The power of a cookie is underestimated.

I will attempt in the next 365 days to prepare and comment on a year’s worth of different cookies-one for each day. My goal is to share with others my extreme love of cookies-baking them and especially eating them! Feel free to send me your favorite recipe, your earliest cookie memories, or how cookies may have influenced your life. Cookies Rule!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cookie Recipe #326 - Date and Orange Squares

The sweet mixture of dates and oranges lies nestled in between a crumby outer layer of butter, flour, sugar and oatmeal.

Ingredients: 1/2 cup butter, softened, 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 1/4 cups oatmeal, 1 pound pitted dates, cut into pieces, 1 chopped orange, 1 1/2 cups water.

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a square 8 or 9-inch baking pan. In a large bowl, cream butter with 1 cup of the brown sugar. In a separate bowl, sift flour with salt and baking powder. Add oatmeal and mix well. Combine dry ingredients with creamed mixture and set aside.

Place dates, orange, water and remaining brown sugar in saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook until thick, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. (I then pureed the mixture because I like a smoother mixture, not chunky.)

Pack 2/3 of the oat mixture into prepared cake pan (it will be crumby). Spread date mixture evenly over top. Cover with remaining oat mixture and press lightly.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Allow to cool on wire rack before cutting into squares.

Makes about 20 squares.

"The Ultimate Cookie Book", Tormont Publications Inc., Montreal, Canada, 1997.

Cookies Rule!!!

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