Date Cookies - Chef Abbie Gellman MS, RD, CDN

Date Cookies

Chef Abbie Gellman RD

Date Cookies are my spin off of the classic oatmeal raisin cookies!  I have made a few simple adjustments to the standard cookie that I know you will enjoy.  The raisins are replaced by dates, which have a creamy taste and smooth texture and maple sugar replaces the cane sugar.  Once you try these Date Cookies, you may never go back to oatmeal raisin.

Dates

Dates are like a magical hybrid of a fig, prune (dried plums) and apricot.  They are an extra sweet fruit that are delicious as a stand-alone snack and in my Date Cookies! When shopping for dates I find there is a big range of moisture content in the dates available for purchase.  Try and find dates that are on the plump and squishy side, this indicates a higher water content.  This will provide for moister Date Cookies! If you want to learn more about dates make sure to read my post on Stuffed Dates.

The other end of the spectrum are dates that are leathery and as wrinkled as a raisin––totally acceptable for baking, but will be less moist.  An option here is to soak the dates in hot water for a few minutes. Then, strain them in a colander and continue as usual with the recipe.  Dates stored in the refrigerator will keep their moisture content longer than if stored at room temperature.

Dates can be purchased with or without the pits. Dates with their pits are often moister because they have not been cut open.  Buying them already pitted (seeds removed),  does save on prep time, and you can soak them to add moisture as previously noted.  Pitted dates will be easier to cut, but will not have as creamy of a taste.  

Date Cookies Nutrition

When we talk about nutrition, I want to shout for all to hear that all foods can fit in a healthy dietary pattern!  That means fried foods like chips and fries, and sweets like cakes and cookies can be enjoyed without guilt.  Too often though, our diet is comprised only of processed foods that are lacking in key vitamins, minerals and fiber.  So enjoy the foods you like, but make sure you are feeding your body what it needs!

In my recipes I focus on foods that are delicious AND nutrient dense.  My Date Cookies have rolled oats, maple sugar and dates for sweetness and use whole wheat flour instead of bleached white flour.

Rolled Oats

In my Date Cookies, oats provide 14 grams of fiber, about 4.5 grams per serving (3 cookies).  Fiber helps us with regular bowel movements, feeds our gut microbiome and increasing the feeling of satiety.1 That means after you enjoy 3 Date Cookies, you are more likely to be satisfied than if eating a cookie made with just white flour.

Maple Sugar

In replace of cane sugar, I have used maple sugar, which is maple syrup that is boiled down until you are left with a solid sugar.  You may have noticed from recipes like my Vegan Oatmeal Cookies and Healthy Blueberry Crisp that I love this sugar substitute.  Maple Sugar is twice as sweet as regular sugar, but has (slightly) less calories per gram.2

A standard cookie will have at least 1 cup of sugar, where we are using only a ½ cup of maple sugar in the Date Cookies.  Maple sugar is also abundant in minerals such as calcium, manganese, potassium and magnesium. It is also a good source of antioxidants, which bolster our immune system.3

Whole Wheat Flour

I love using whole wheat pastry flour in replace of all purpose, white flour in my Date Cookies, and just about all baked goods.  Often regular wheat flour is too grainy and gritty in baked goods, making the dessert too dense and hearty. Whole wheat pastry flour on the other hand is made with a softer wheat that has a lower protein content, but still rich in fiber and other nutrients.4  If you only have regular wheat flour, you can use ½ wheat and ½ all-purpose flour in the recipe.

Let’s Get Baking!

My Date Cookies may require you to buy a few new ingredients––dates, whole wheat pastry flour and maple sugar. They are all nutrient dense substitutions that can be used in so many applications that it is well worth the grocery store trip!

Some other additions I like to add to my date cookies are spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add a sprinkling of finishing salt, like Maldon Salt. I also like to add chopped nuts like walnuts or pecans to add a protein-dense crunch. Enjoy!

Similar Pages

Looking for more easy desserts to try out? Try my Chocolate Covered Pecans, Healthy Banana Bread and Chai Muffins.

References

  1. Rasane P, Jha A, Sabikhi L, Kumar A, Unnikrishnan VS. Nutritional advantages of oats and opportunities for its processing as value added foods – a review. J Food Sci Technol. 2015;52(2):662-675. doi:10.1007/s13197-013-1072-1
  2. Nutritional Information – Vermont Maple Sugar Makers. Accessed December 2, 2019. https://vermontmaple.org/nutritional-information
  3. Stuckel JG, Low NH. The chemical composition of 80 pure maple syrup samples produced in North America. Food Research International. 1996;29(3):373-379. doi:10.1016/0963-9969(96)00000-2
  4. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour. Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods. Accessed October 25, 2020. https://www.bobsredmill.com/whole-wheat-pastry-flour.html
Side shot, date cookies

Date Cookies

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Course: Dessert
Keyword: dates, oats
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 24 cookies
Author: Chef Abbie Gellman RD

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter melted
  • ½ cup maple sugar
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 10 ounces ~1 ½ cups pitted dates, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups rolled oats

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, combine melted butter, maple sugar, egg, and vanilla then whisk until smooth.
  • In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix well. Mix in dates and oats and combine thoroughly.
  • Roll rounded tablespoons of mixture into balls and place on baking sheets. Bake until golden brown, rotating sheets halfway through, approximately 18 to 20 minutes.
  • Date cookies will stay fresh in an air tight container for 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.

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