My paternal grandmother, Laura Jean Ross Jones, was born on a farm in 84, Pennsylvania. Yes, 84, PA, home of 84 Lumber, a small town south of Pittsburgh, PA. Her father, Frank Ross was a farmer and banker and lost a lot of money during the Great Depression. My grandmother was a baker, she made homemade bread, cinnamon bread, cookies, buns, and more. Laura Jean was featured in a Farm Magazine for her cookies when I was approx. 8 years old. My grandmother also collected roosters, one time when I was visiting I counted over 120 roosters at my grandparents home. My grandmother and grandfather got a kick out of this. My grandmother also enjoyed going to auctions and all the auctioneers knew her by name. Occasionally, my grandmother would take me with her to the auctions. Every Thanksgiving, she would make cut out cookies for her grandchildren to
decorate. I would sit down and decorate turkey and pumpkins and for Christmas there were candy canes, Christmas trees, snowman,
reindeer, bell, holly leaf, Santa, and Santa’s sleigh. These are some of the fondest memories I have of my grandmother.
Every year until I was 12 years old and my parents separated, my grandmother would give me a round cookie tin filled with my favorite cookie that she made, Date Pinwheels. I would open the tin and smell the delicious date cookies. I never had the opportunity to actually make these cookies with her. I now understand at such a deeper level what it really means to be given a homemade gift of cookies or another homemade gift. It is truly a wondrous gift of love. I unfortunately do not have my grandmother’s recipe for the Date Pinwheels, but I do have a recipe which I feel is very close to her recipe. Enjoy!
Date Pinwheel Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2-1/2 cups chopped dates
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup finely chopped pecans
🍎 In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, salt and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Divide into four portions. Refrigerate until chilled.
🍎 In a large saucepan, bring the dates, sugar and water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook until mixture is thickened, about 15 minutes. Cool completely. Stir in pecans.
🍎 On a baking sheet, roll out each portion of dough between two sheets of waxed paper into a 12×9-in. rectangle. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
🍎 Remove waxed paper; spread with date mixture. Tightly roll up each portion jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm.
🍎 Unwrap and cut into 1/4-in. slices. Place 1 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool. Enjoy!