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Sister Benigna's Cookies


Half-moon oatmeal cookies with a date filling. Sister Benigna was in charge of the farms at Mount St. Benedict, the Benedictine convent in Crookston, Minnesota when my father was a child. I'm told her face had a perpetual sunburn in the summer and the loveliest smile. Without the smile, she would have been homely as sin. She wore a huge straw hat over the top of her habit headdress and she drove a Ford tractor all over that place. She used to make these cookies for my father's family and we still make them, 65 years later. They are fabulous.

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  • Servings:
  • A pile of cookies (probably 6 dozen), plenty to last the holiday season.
  • Dough:
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Filling:
  • 1 package of pitted dates (8 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water


Servings 6


Step 1

1. Sift the flour and salt together and combine with oatmeal.

2. Cream butter, then add in brown sugar a bit at a time, then add eggs and mix thoroughly. Dissolve baking soda in the boiling water, then add to dough along with remaining dry ingredients (oatmeal, flour and salt). Mix well.

3. Put the dough into the refrigerator and let it chill a few hours. This will make it *much* easier to roll out.

4. Preheat oven to 375.

5. Combine filling ingredients (dates, sugar and water) and boil until thick.

6. Roll out one-third of the oatmeal dough as thin as possible on a generously floured surface. Cut into circles, about 2-1/2 inches diameter. Put a teaspoon of date filling in the center of each circle; fold the circle over to make a half circle; press the edges of the half circle together with a fork to keep filling from escaping.

7. Bake 12 to 15 minutes at 375 degrees. They should be a golden brown.

Nutrition Data: An entire batch (3.5 pounds) has 5646 calories. Let's call it 60 calories/cookie: close enough for government work. Low in Sodium, a good source of Manganese. But high in Saturated Fat, and a large portion of the calories come from sugars.


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