Monday, January 20, 2014

Date Nut Rolls {and a Bonus Gluten-Free Version}

These date nut rolls are perfect for any occasion, from your weekend brunch to your afternoon tea. 

Date Nut Rolls | Taste As You Go
Date Nut Rolls

A while back, I asked all of you on Facebook what types of recipes you'd like to see more of on Taste As You Go. Some of you asked for more breakfast/brunch recipes, so I'm really excited to share this special recipe for Date Nut Rolls with you today. They're simple and elegant enough to make for a weekend brunch but also versatile enough to serve with your afternoon tea. And, as an added bonus, I have a gluten-free version of the recipe, too!

Date Nut Rolls | Taste As You Go
Date Nut Rolls

The first time I had the pleasure of enjoying these Date Nut Rolls, I was staying at The Inn on First in downtown Napa. Chef Jim Gunther, who is also a co-owner of the bed and breakfast along with his husband Jamie Cherry, made them for their guests to enjoy at breakfast on the first morning of my trip, and I was instantly obsessed with them. Thankfully, Jim sent me home with a copy of his cookbook, which included the recipe for the addictive breakfast treat (and a gluten-free adaptation).

Cream Cheese and Butter | Taste As You Go
Cream Cheese and Butter

Flour | Taste As You Go
Flour 

To make the dough, combine room temperature cream cheese and butter with flour until all of the ingredients are fully incorporated.

Date Nut Roll Dough | Taste As You Go
Date Nut Roll Dough 

Shape the dough into a flat disk and then wrap tightly with plastic wrap before putting it in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes. You'll want to leave the dough in there until it's firm to the touch.

Chopped Dates and Chopped Pecans | Taste As You Go
Chopped Dates and Chopped Pecans

For the filling, start with chopped dates and chopped pecans.

Filling for Date Nut Rolls | Taste As You Go
Filling for Date Nut Rolls

Toss the dates and pecans with a simple mixture of cinnamon and sugar and voilĂ ! That's it!

Dough for Date Nut Rolls | Taste As You Go
Dough for Date Nut Rolls

Once the dough is firm, turn it out onto a floured work surface and roll into a large rectangle approximately 14" x 9" in size. I found that using a marble pastry slab was better than using a wooden board because it kept the dough cool as I worked with it. Whatever surface you use, be sure not to handle the dough too much... it's delicate and the warmer it gets, the harder it is to work with.

Date Nut Rolls | Taste As You Go
Date Nut Rolls

After rolling out the dough, gently brush the surface with an egg wash and then sprinkle on the filling.

Date Nut Rolls | Taste As You Go
Date Nut Rolls

With the long side of the dough facing you, cut the dough into 12 large triangles, then roll each triangle beginning with the wide end and ending with the narrow end. Place the triangles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on the top and firm to the touch.

Date Nut Rolls | Taste As You Go
Date Nut Rolls

Now, I know I still have some work to do in terms of perfecting the shape of my Date Nut Rolls, but, in all honesty, what they looked like coming out of the oven didn't matter to me in the slightest. All that mattered to me was the fact that I didn't burn them! ;-)

Date Nut Rolls | Taste As You Go
Date Nut Rolls

Don't they look scrumptious?

So... for those of you who wanted the breakfast/brunch recipes... what do you think?

Date Nut Rolls
Prep time: 20-30 minutes | Cook time: 20-25 minutes | Total time: 40-55 minutes | Yield: 12 rolls | Printable Recipe

INGREDIENTS
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dates, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  2. In a mixing bowl combine the cream cheese and butter with a rubber spatula until smooth. Add the flour and mix until the flour is fully incorporated.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape into a small disk. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the chopped pecans, dates, sugar, and ground cinnamon until the pecans and dates are well coated. 
  5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a floured surface. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle approximately 14" x 9". 
  6. In a small mixing bowl combine the egg and the water and beat until combined. Brush the dough with a light coat of egg wash.
  7. Sprinkle the date and nut mixture over the dough and gently press down to help it stick. 
  8. With the long side of the rectangle facing you, cut out 12 large triangles. Starting with the wide part of each triangle, roll the dough toward the narrow point creating a croissant effect. Make sure the point of the triangle is on the bottom of each roll so that it won't unroll during baking.
  9. Place the rolls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown on the top and firm to the touch. 
  10. Remove from the oven, let cool, and serve.
Recipe by Michelle Rittler | Taste As You Go // Adapted from Recipe by Jim Gunther

Gluten-Free Date Nut Rolls
Yield12 rolls | Printable Recipe

INGREDIENTS
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dates, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  2. In a mixing bowl combine the cream cheese and butter with a rubber spatula until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine the gluten-free flour, xanthan gum, and gelatin. Add the flour mixture to the cream cheese and butter and mix until the ingredients are fully incorporated.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape into a small disk. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the chopped pecans, dates, sugar, and ground cinnamon until the pecans and dates are well coated. 
  5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a floured surface. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle approximately 14" x 9". 
  6. In a small mixing bowl combine the egg and the water and beat until combined. Brush the dough with a light coat of egg wash.
  7. Sprinkle the date and nut mixture over the dough and gently press down to help it stick. 
  8. With the long side of the rectangle facing you, roll the dough up into a log. Try to keep the roll as tight as possible. Once rolled, pinch the seam to seal in the filling.
  9. Cut the log into 12 rolls and chill for 15 minutes in the refrigerator. This will help the rolls keep their shape while baking.
  10. Place the rolls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown on the top and firm to the touch. 
  11. Remove from the oven, let cool, and serve.
Recipe by Michelle Rittler | Taste As You Go // Adapted from Recipe by Jim Gunther

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