I love cookies that can double as breakfast. These are reminiscent of a Fig Newton or a Tunisian makrout, with chewy dates and hearty nuts laced with far eastern aromatics of orange peel, cinnamon, and cardamom.
Just add the frankincense and myrrh and follow the northern star!
For the Crust:
1/2 medium orange
1/2 cup soft, pitted Medjool dates
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup raw almonds
2 cups raw pecan halves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
For the Filling:
1 large orange
2 cups soft, pitted Medjool dates
3 tablespoons water
Begin by making the crust. Peel the orange half with a sharp knife, making sure to remove all of the bitter white pith. Cut in between the membranes of the orange to release the sections and squeeze the juice from the sections into the bowl of a food processor. Discard the membranes, then add the water and dates to the bowl of the food processor and pulse until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer the puree into a separate mixing bowl, then clean the processor bowl.
Process the almonds until they form a very finely ground meal. Add pecans, cinnamon, and cardamom, pulsing together until the pecans are coarsely chopped. Add about 1/4 cup of the date puree and pulse, stopping once the mixture holds together on it’s own. Press half of the nut crust into a lightly oiled, 8″ square baking pan, making an even layer. Set the remaining crust mixture aside, and clean the processor bowl again.
To make the filling, peel the zest off the orange with a vegetable peeler, then slice it thinly. Peel and juice the orange into the food processor the same way as the orange half, then add the dates and water and pulse until smooth. Evenly spread the filling mixture over the nut crust, then top with the remaining half of the crust, pressing down to compact. Put in the refrigerator until firm enough to cut cleanly, at least two hours. Cut the bars, garnish with orange zest, and serve.