11/30/2012 01:39 EST | Updated 01/30/2013 05:12 EST

Spice cookies filled with orange-date mixture make decadent goodies

These cookies incorporate the spices associated with the festive season plus they have a sweet surprise inside — a mixture of sweet dates, orange flavouring and crunchy hazelnuts. They're perfect for a hostess gift or to tote along for a cookie swap.

Orange Medjool Date Stuffed Spice Cookies

Preparation Time: 25 minutes

Bake Time: about 12 minutes per batch

500 ml (2 cups) all-purpose flour

125 ml (1/2 cup) large flake oats

2 ml (1/2 tsp) baking soda

2 ml (1/2 tsp) ground cinnamon

1 ml (1/4 tsp) freshly grated nutmeg

Pinch ground cloves

175 ml (3/4 cup) butter, softened

125 ml (1/2 cup) granulated sugar

125 ml (1/2 cup) packed light brown sugar

1 egg

5 ml (1 tsp) pure vanilla extract

Orange Date Filling

250 ml (1 cup) pitted Medjool dates, chopped

2 ml (1/2 tsp) grated orange rind

125 ml (1/2 cup) orange juice

125 ml (1/2 cup) flaked hazelnuts (filberts)

2 ml (1/2 tsp) pure vanilla extract

Orange Date Filling: In a small saucepan, combine dates, orange rind and juice and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring once, for about 8 minutes or until juice is absorbed and dates are very soft. Remove from heat and stir to break up dates. Stir in hazelnuts and vanilla; set aside to cool.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves; set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat together butter and granulated and brown sugars until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture. Then, using hands, bring dough together into a soft mixture.

Place a level 15-ml (1 tbsp) measure of the dough on a work surface and flatten into a circle. Place 5 ml (1 tsp) of the filling into the centre and top with another flattened 15 ml (1 tbsp) of the dough. Pinch edges to seal. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough and filling.

Bake in a 180 C (350 F) oven for about 12 minutes or until lightly golden around edges. Let cool slightly before serving.

Makes about 30 cookies.

Nutrition information per cookie: 143 calories; 7 g fat; 20 g carbohydrate; 1 g fibre; 12 g sugar; 2 g protein; 54 mg sodium.

Source: Natural Delights Medjool Dates.