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Oatmeal, Date and Walnut Spice Cookies

The berry of an evergreen tree, allspice tastes like a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. It is a particular favorite with holiday bakers, who like to add its bold flavor to cookies, cakes and pies. Allspice can be used ground or whole. Buy allspice, especially ground allspice, in the smallest amount you can from a store with high turnover, as the spice will begin to lose its flavor after 6 months. If possible, purchase allspice in bulk, buying only a little at a time. If you buy a can or jar, be sure to check it for a date to ensure freshness.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room
      temperature
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbs. dark molasses
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • Coarse sugar crystals for sprinkling (optional)

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 375°F. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets or line them with parchment paper.

Over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice; set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter on high speed until fluffy and pale yellow. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar and continue beating until the mixture is no longer gritty when rubbed between your finger and thumb. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the molasses and vanilla.

Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed or stir with a wooden spoon just until blended. Beat or stir in the oats, dates and walnuts just until evenly distributed.

Drop the batter by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared pans, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies until the edges are golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle the cookies with coarse sugar while they are still warm. Let the cookies cool on the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then transfer them to the racks and let cool completely. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Cookies, by Marie Simmons (Simon & Schuster, 2002).