More than a week has gone by since I last baked cookies, and I have yet to tell you about the latest batch. In my defense, 1st – my diaconate classes have started up again, 2nd – I am in the process (made torturous this year by huge upheavals in the school’s schedule — 8 to 5 school day? really) of building a volunteer tutoring schedule for 17 classrooms and getting all that up and running by early October from somewhere near scratch, and 3rd – Kate is in two piano competitions within the next two weeks and gave a solo recital last week to help herself prepare. That 3rd thing should not be so much my problem, but feels heavy nonetheless. She is still my little girl sometimes despite her increasing womanly appearance, and I want to see her do her best but do not want anyone to hurt her all at once. Mostly I stew and worry in silence. I should probably bake more to take the edge off, but … my time is so limited right now! (See 1st and 2nd items above)
This recipe comes from Sharon Tyler Herbst’s mother, who in turn adapted it from Ms. Herbst’s father’s grandmother. Ms. Herbst added orange zest to the flavorful mix. The dough, consisting of flour, shortening, white and dark brown sugar, a little salt, vanilla and three eggs, is chilled then rolled into a rectangle and cut into four 2.5 inch strips. The cooked filling, made up of chopped pitted dates, cinnamon, vanilla, orange zest, lemon juice and sugar, is spread on all but one strip. Stack the strips, putting the bare one on top, and slice and bake! Voilà!
According to Ms. Herbst, half the dough and filling can be formed and frozen for later use. The dough and filling can also be rolled and sliced into pinwheels instead of zebras. And, she says, they go wonderfully with tart orange sherbet. That we didn’t try. They are very good, and sweet, on their own. They have a wonderful texture too, soft with the tiniest hint of crustiness on the outside — a gift of the shortening, no doubt. A real treat.
And now, a treat for you. The latest results of Kate’s hard work:
J.S. Bach, Italian Concerto, presto
Chopin, Etude in F, Op 10, no 8
Mozart, Fantasy in c, K 475
Chopin, Ballade in g, Op 23