Day 4 – Grandma Fossback was not my grandma, but I would have loved to sit in her warm kitchen and gobble down these cookies. I am a #1 fan of cookies with dates in them. This recipe came from a loyal customer of mine many years ago, when I had a graphics business. At the bottom of the typed recipe is this: “Good luck, it took me two batches to get it right like my Grandma Fossback used to make them.” I wonder if the recipe had blackberry brandy in it before Grandma Fossback got hold of it. Anyway, it may not be the prettiest cookie on the tray but if you like raisins, dates, and walnuts you’ll be sneaking these into your pockets when nobody is looking.

The only trick here is to simmer the raisins and dates to soften them. Just put them in a pan with enough water to cover them and bring it to a simmer, then turn off heat and let them sit for about 10 minutes before draining and allowing to cool. If you save the cooking water it’s a nice touch when you make Cinnamon Raisin or Walnut Raisin bread, and it’s also good to use when cooking oats.

IMG_6256Blackberry brandy isn’t necessary – you could use a little apple juice – but what the heck, it’s Christmas. Buy a little bottle to have on hand when that winter cold hits. If you usually leave out cookies for Santa, forget the milk. That dude could use a shot of blackberry brandy with these cookies.

– Joan, 6 December 2018


Grandma Fossback's Date & Raisin Cookies

  • Servings: About 4 dozen
  • Print

  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons blackberry brandy
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 cups walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 2 cups raisins, softened, drained and cooled
  • 2 cups diced dates, softened, drained and cooled

Cover dates and raisins with water in a pan, bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat and let them soak for about 10 minutes before draining. Set aside to cool.

Cream butter and sugar. Mix in eggs and brandy. Add the raisins, dates, and nuts and mix slowly, taking care not to break up the raisins and dates. Blend all of the dry ingredients and mix in slowly, just until all the flour is incorporated. Refrigerate dough for 2-3 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Use a #40 scoop to make small balls. Place about 2″ apart on a parchment-covered cookie sheet and flatten slightly with your palm. Bake 12-14 minutes. Cool completely before storing. These keep best if stored in a cool, dry place and will taste best a day after baking.


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