Sweet Date Pockets

Tuck dried dates and white chocolate inside an envelope of pastry dough. These are best when they’re lukewarm and the date is soft and sticky.
baking sheet, parchment paper, kitchen scissors, bowl, wooden spoon, measuring cups, measuring spoons, dinner knife, rolling pin, 3-inch (8 cm) round cookie cutter
8 pitted, dried dates (regular-sized dates, not the larger Medjool dates)
1/3 cup (80 mL) soft cream cheese (not low-fat or fat-free) (see “Cream Cheese”)
¼ cup (60 mL) soft unsalted butter (see “Butter”)
¼ cup (60 mL) white sugar
1 egg white (see “Eggs”)
½ tsp (2 mL) white vinegar
½ tsp (2 mL) vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour (spoon in, level)
16 white chocolate baking wafers
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Also cut two other large pieces of parchment.
  2. Use kitchen scissors to cut the dates in half lengthwise—that means into two long halves, not two short ones. Ask a helper to explain if you don’t know what this means. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, use the back of a wooden spoon to cream together the cream cheese, butter, and sugar. Mix in the egg white, vinegar, vanilla, and salt until smooth.
  4. Gradually stir the flour into the cream cheese mixture to form a soft dough. Use a dinner knife to scrape sticky ingredients off the spoon. When it gets too stiff to stir, use your hands to press any crumbly bits into the dough—keeping the dough in the bowl. The dough will be soft but not sticky.
  5. Use the dinner knife to cut the dough into two equal-sized pieces. Place one piece between the two sheets of parchment you cut in step 1. Put your rolling pin on the top piece of parchment and roll out the dough to 3⁄16 inch (5 mm) thick (see “Three-Stacked-Quarters Rule”).
  6. Use the cookie cutter to cut circles in the dough. The circles can be touching, but not overlapping.
  7. Place a white chocolate wafer in the middle of each circle of dough, then put a date half on top of each wafer. Use a dinner knife to help you lift up the edges of the dough. Pull two opposite sides of the circle of dough over the date and tightly pinch the edges shut (this is easiest to do if you pull up the dough along the length of the date, not its width). You will end up with half-moon-shaped pockets. Set them onto the baking sheet about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Squeeze together the dough scraps and set aside.
  8. Make more Sweet Date Pockets with the second piece of dough and set them on the parchment. Squeeze together all your dough scraps, roll them out and make a few more of the cookies. Place them on the parchment, too. You should have 15 or 16 Sweet Date Pockets.
  9. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until they have just a few golden touches. Cool on the baking sheet until lukewarm before eating.
Makes 15 or 16 Sweet Date Pockets.

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