These cookies were my best friend Morrie Shaffer’s favorites. My experience making them for him tells me that the more dates and nuts you use the better. You can easily increase the amounts of dates and nuts shown below by 50 percent if you want a chewy cookie.
In a saucepan, combine the dates, water, sugar and lemon juice. Bring the date mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the chopped nuts. Remove the pan from the heat. Set it aside to cool the contents to room temperature.
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, and eggs until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; stir to blend. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Beat until just blended.
Divide the dough into three equal portions. Wrap each portion in waxed paper and chill them in the refrigerator, about 30 minutes to one hour or until they are easy to handle.
Between sheets of waxed paper, roll each portion into a rectangle, about 12 x 8 inches.
Remove the top piece of waxed paper and spread each rectangle with about 2/3 cup (or more) of the date mixture. The idea is that the date mixture should be divided into thirds and each part used with one rectangle of dough. Starting with the 12 inch side, lift the edge of the waxed paper. Peel the paper off as the dough is rolled, jellyroll fashion. Repeat with remaining portions and filling. Wrap the rolls in waxed paper and refrigerate them for several hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Cut each roll into 1/4 inch thick slices and place them about 1 inch apart on greased (buttered) cookie sheets. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes; cool them on cooling racks. The recipe makes 7 to 8 dozen cookies.