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I'm not one who likes surprises. I like having all the cards on the table, and unexpected twists really through me off kilter. Let's just say that if I had gone into Lincoln not already knowing the ending, those last ten minutes would have really pissed me off. (Which well, they kind of did anyway.)
This is strange given that I came of age during what has been named The Food With Stuff Hidden Inside It Era—by me, at any rate—including but not limited to stuffed crust pizza, Hot Pockets, Pop Tarts, Hostess cupcakes, and Gushers, to name a few.
I guess the only place I do like surprises is when it comes to food. I like biting into something and getting an unexpected burst of flavor. Even if you know it's coming, a filled cookie or doughnut causes a special bit of excitement that unfilled sweets don't. That's how I feel, anyway, but even if that's a lame duck surprise to you, I think you'll appreciate these cookies.
At first I thought about using dried figs, but the specimens at my local store looked like they'd been sitting there for longer than it took Daniel Day Lewis to get through that scene where Lincoln is waiting to hear the verdict from the Senate. (Am I the only person who was really bored by that movie?)
So instead I decided to make the interior mixture with Medjool dates that I pureed with a bit of sugar and vanilla extract. The outer pocket is a rugelach dough, which I chose for its sweet, creamy, and slightly tangy flavor. These cookies make a fun weekend project: the dough is rolled out and stamped into circles, half of which are topped with the date mixture. Each cookie is topped with a second circle, crimped shut, brushed with egg wash, and sprinkled with a little more sugar. Best of all, the cookies puff up into adorable little hat-shaped pockets even though they start off flatter than that final scene. (OK, I'm done.)