Once a month we’re featuring a new family-friendly dish from the Hatfields for our Kids Can Cook section. The dairy-free teen cooking star is Katherine and this week she and her “mama”, Sarah, are making Skillet Cookies.
When I was growing up, our two closest neighbors were Italian widows. I always liked visiting their houses, but I especially enjoyed being in their kitchens at Christmastime. It was so much fun to see (and eat!) all the holiday treats they were making.
I found the squid cooked in its own ink to be so exotic. I loved the fried smelts, the calamari, the pots of sauce bubbling on the stove. And of course I couldn’t wait until we received trays of Christmas cookies from them. I loved them all, especially the pizzelles and these little date-coconut-rice cereal cookies that I now know are called “Skillet Cookies.”
I haven’t gotten up the nerve to buy a pizzelle iron and make my own pizzelles yet, but Katherine and I decided this was the year to learn how to make Skillet Cookies. They’re very simple and fun for the kids to help with. An adult or teen should probably be in charge of stirring the hot date and sugar mixture, but once the cookie dough is cool enough to handle, everyone can help shape and roll the cookies. We rolled them into small logs because that is what I remember from my childhood, but they can also easily be shaped into balls.
These cookies can easily be made gluten free with gluten-free rice cereal, and they are an easy, yet different, addition to a Christmas cookie tray.
Special Diet Notes: Skillet Cookies
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, optionally gluten-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, and vegetarian. We haven’t yet tested this recipe without eggs. If you need egg-free or vegan, my best suggestion would be to try aquafaba (bean liquid), since it does provide some structure.
For nut-free skillet cookies, you can swap in more rice cereal or broken pretzel pieces.
- Mix the chopped dates, sugar, buttery spread, egg, and salt in a heavy-bottomed skillet.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Boil for two minutes, stirring constantly.
- Remove from the heat.
- Stir in the vanilla, followed by the rice cereal and pecans, until fully combined.
- When cool enough to handle, shape into small logs (or balls), using about one tablespoon per cookie.**
- Roll each cookie in the coconut, gently pressing the coconut into the cookie so it adheres.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.
**Roll the cookies when the mixture is warm enough to handle, but not fully cooled. Otherwise, it will stick in the pan and be hard to shape. Ask me how I know. You can shape the cookies into balls, but we like the log shape.