Back when I started college and began my venture in baking I made these cookies. I remember them really well because I had gone back home to visit my parents for the weekend and it was Fall. And as these cookies were baking I just fell in love. The aroma that was throughout the house from the pumpkin pie spice was just so nostalgic and delicious. I was instantly filled with feelings of cozy happiness. The perfect Autumn contentment. So for me, these were the cookies that made me fall head over heels for baking. They took my favorite season full of memories and elevated it to my other senses. It is such a wonderful feeling when you find a dish that can do that.
So, I keep making these cookies every Fall. Not only because it’s a personal thing for me, but because they are just so darn good! I have to admit that dates are not my favorite dried fruit, I’d rather eat a cookie with raisins, but with these cookies they just work. But hey, there is nothing stopping you from substituting raisins or maybe even dried cranberries. I have accepted dates as part of these cookies though and have actually come to depend on their presence.
Having made these cookies a number of times before I will tell you that I vary from the recipe quite a bit. Sometimes when I make them they come out dry and crumbly. I’ve decided that this is because there are just too many “add-ins” and that there is an unnecessary amount of flour added to the cake mix equation. I always scale back the “add-ins” to about 3/4 to 1 scant cup each. This allows for more cookie dough for them to adhere to. AND instead of the 1/3 cup flour, I use just 1/4 cup. Oddly enough, I have read reviews on Food Network for this recipe that say they found the cookies greasy as written. So with less flour, you might think so too. But honestly, I only found this quality in the dough. Once baked, they were perfect. Super moist and not dry and crumbly a bit. So whether you follow the original or my slight adaptation, it’s up to you.
And one final word on these cookies- they bake the shape you make them on the pan. So if you use a scoop, they will come out exactly as the scoop shapes them. I always scoop them and then press them down with the bottom of a glass. They just don’t like to flatten on their own and I find that rounded, bumpy shape a bit unappealing.
- 1 (18.25-ounce) box classic yellow cake mix
- 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) butter, melted
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup quick-cooking oats
- ¾ cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
- ¾ cup chopped dates
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Combine cake mix, melted butter, flour, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla in large bowl. Beat with a hand mixer for 1 minute, or until well blended. Stir in oats, walnuts and dates.
- Roll tablespoons of dough into rounds and place on an ungreased cookie sheet, spacing cookies 2 inches apart. Flatten slightly with palm or bottom of a glass. Bake for 10 minutes, or until edges begin to brown. Cool cookies on cookie sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer cookies to a cooling rack or platter.
adapted from Sandra Lee