As pumpkin season gears into full swing, I just could not forgo the chance for another addition to the already bountiful amount of pumpkin recipes on the internet. While Cinderella's fairy godmother is busy transforming an ordinary pumpkin into a magnificent carriage, food bloggers around the world are also magically turning pumpkins into delectable dishes. Pumpkinfy everything!
However, I did refrain myself from serving you a soup recipe, even though they would be much welcomed at this time of the year without a doubt. I thought cookies would be more of a special treat and also a nice snack to be carrying with me for the weekend ahead when I will be attending the third annual Food Bloggers of Canada Conference, FBC2015, which is held in Montreal this year.
FBC2015 is Canada’s only national conference for food bloggers and the aim is to provide a fun and intimate event for bloggers, brands and speakers alike to meet, network and of course, enjoy great food! So, not that food would be lacking there, but for a vegan with nut and seed allergy, I really want to carry something with me just in case.
As luck would have it, Natural Delights Medjool Dates sponsored a ticket for me to attend all three days of the event free of charge! Quite honestly, I would not have been able to make it to this event otherwise.
If you have ever had a bite into one of Natural Delights' medjool dates, you'll instantly understand that not all dates are made equal. Natural Delights is a brand that I already use for their unmatched quality, be it for the careful selection, supreme taste and long lasting satiation. While these medjool dates are a treat to be enjoyed on their own as an in-between-meals snack, I regularly use them in a number of recipes as a natural sweetener going from smoothies and frozen treats to goodies like homemade energy or protein bars, cakes, pies and cookies to mention a few.
Inspired from the much loved classic fig rolls or Fig Newtons (as they are more commonly known in Northern America), my version of these buttery soft cookies are filled with pumpkin and medjool dates instead of the traditional fig paste. Contrary to the mass produced store-bought version, this recipe here achieves a more tender biscuit which makes these cookies just incredibly addictive. Larger than the commercial version, they are especially appealing for the gourmet that I am. Surely, you will agree that it is by far more alluring to be munching into a cookie that has come out of the oven than reaching for one from a packet that has been sitting on the store shelf for weeks.
Pumpkin Date Roll CookiesIngredients (20 - 24 cookies)
2 cups [320 g] fresh pumpkin, cubed
12 Natural Delight Medjool Dates, pitted and cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup water
Pinch cinnamon (optional)
Pinch allspice (optional)
1/2 cup [120 g] vegan margarine (I used one that has a soft consistency but do not melt it)
2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
6 tablespoons cold (refrigerated) aquafaba* (or cold non-dairy milk)
2 cups [320 g] all-purpose flour (whole-wheat flour is also good)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
*Aquafaba is the liquid that comes from a can of chickpeas. If you used to pour it down the sink, well now you should be saving it because that liquid is just magic! It has revolutionized the vegan world this year. Vegans have now been using it to make vegan meringues. I have not had a go at those yet but I have been using aquafaba in a number of recipes with pretty good results. You can make your own aquafaba if you usually boil chickpeas from dry. Save the liquid and reduce it to the same kind of thick consistency that you get in a can. In this recipe, I used aquafaba obtained from butter/lima beans which are especially creamy.
Make the filling:
Add all the ingredients into a small saucepan on medium heat. Simmer for about 20 minutes while occasionally stirring. Once pumpkin and dates are soft and mushy, process the mixture in a blender or use an immersion blender directly in the saucepan and reduce to a puree. Then continue to simmer for another 15 minutes until the puree becomes a thick paste. Turn off the heat and allow to cool completely.
Make the biscuit:
While the filling is cooking, you can start making the dough. In a mixing bowl, cream the soft margarine and sugar by hand (I used a metal tablespoon, you can also use a small whisk) until fluffy. Next add in the aquafaba or non-dairy milk and mix to obtain a homogeneous mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients, the flour, baking powder and salt, and mix with the spoon until mixture starts to form a dough. Go in with your hand and press into a smooth dough but do not knead it. Once the dough is formed, do not over-handle it. Place in a closed container (or wrap in cling film) and freeze for 10 minutes (or refrigerate for 30 minutes).
Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
Take the dough out of the freezer/refrigerator and place on flour board (you may want to divide it in half to make it easier to work with). Roll it out to about 5mm or 1/4 inch thick. Trim the rolled out dough into rectangles of 9 x 12 cm (3.5 X 5 inches). Make the cut out bits into a ball of dough and keep aside to roll out again later. Now place the filling along the centre of the dough. Fold one side over the filling and continue to roll the dough to enclose the filling so that the seam is facing down. Gently lift and transfer onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make some dents into the rolled dough at 4 cm (1.5 inch) intervals but do not cut all the way through. You will get a cleaner cut once the cookies are baked and still warm. Optionally, you can press a fork along the centre of each roll to create some indented patterns.
Repeat for the rest of the dough.
Bake for 12 minutes. Then gently turn the cookies over and bake for another 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully cut the cookies through the indentations you made prior to baking. Allow cookies to cool on a cooling rack. Once cooled, keep in an airtight container and enjoy! They keep well for 3-4 days. If they go too soft, just pop them back in a preheated oven for 5 - 8 minutes and allow them to cool again, they will get their biscuity bite back.
What would you fill these rolled cookies with?
Full disclosure: Natural Delights dates sponsored my ticket to FBC2015 in exchange for a recipe incorporating Natural Delights Medjool Dates as an ingredient. I was not compensated in any other way for this post and my opinions about their products are 100% mine. No money has changed hands between myself and Natural Delights in relation to the FBC2015 event or this post.