Date Pinwheel Cookies

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This is my mother’s recipe, which she thinks came from her Uncle Leroy’s niece, Mana. When my mother and grandparents would visit Uncle Leroy’s family, Leroy’s sister, Aunt Lena, would always have a roll of the date and nut cookies in the freezer to bake and serve for company.

For dough:
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter. Add sugars and beat until fluffy. Mix in vanilla, then egg. Gradually add dry ingredients. Chill dough in refrigerator until firm enough to roll out.

Filling:
7 ¼ ounces chopped dates
¼ cup sugar
Dash of salt
1/3 cup water
1 cup chopped walnuts

Combine all filling ingredients except nuts in a medium saucepan. Simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, stirring often to prevent filling from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and add nuts. Cool to room temperature.

Remove dough from refrigerator and divide in half. Roll each piece into an 8-by-12-inch rectangle. Spread half of cooled filling on each rectangle, leaving an inch border around all 4 edges. Starting from 1 of the 8-inch sides, roll each rectangle like a jellyroll. Wrap each roll in wax paper and refrigerate 1-2 hours until firm.
Remove rolls from refrigerator and cut each roll into slices 1/8-inch thick. Place slices on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Makes approximately 2 ½ dozen cookies.

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