The 12 Cookies of Christmas: Ice cream cone date bars

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Ice cream cone caramel date bars feature a rich filling reminiscent of sticky toffee pudding.  MATTHEW MEAD/ASSOCIATED PRESS
MATTHEW MEAD/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Ice cream cone caramel date bars feature a rich filling reminiscent of sticky toffee pudding.

And you thought you were done with ice cream cones for the season. But we found a way not just to bring them back, but to do so deliciously and with just the right festive spirit for the holidays.

We combine crushed ice cream sugar cones, toasted pecans and jammy cooked dates in a delicious bar topped with melted caramel candies and – of course – more pecans and crushed ice cream cones. The dates combine with the caramel to form a luscious sticky, rich filling reminiscent of sticky toffee pudding.

ICE CREAM CONE CARAMEL DATE BARS

Start to finish: 45 minutes

Makes 2 dozen cookies

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1½ cups packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 egg

11/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup crushed toasted pecans, divided

1 cup crushed sugar ice cream cones (about 6 cones), divided

8-ounce package pitted dates, finely chopped

¾ cup half-and-half

8 ounces soft caramel candies

Heat oven to 350. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with baking spray. In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, brown sugar, vanilla, salt and baking powder. Beat in the egg. Stir in the flour, then ¾ cup of the pecans and ¾ cup of the crushed sugar cones. Press the mixture in an even layer into the prepared pan and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown.

While the crust bakes, make the filling. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the dates and half-and-half. Cook until the dates soften and begin to break down, about 10 minutes. Add the caramels and cook until melted, stirring constantly, about another 10 minutes.

When the crust is baked and the filling is made, pour the filling over the crust and spread evenly. Sprinkle the reserved toasted pecans and crushed sugar cone over the top, then let set up until firm. Cut into 24 bars.

Nutrition information per cookie: 230 calories; 80 calories from fat (35 percent of total calories); 8 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 20 mg cholesterol; 37 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 27 g sugar; 3 g protein; 95 mg sodium.

READER RECIPE: FRUITCAKE COOKIES

Nancy G. Payne, of Augusta, says her recipe for fruitcake cookies “is not hard at all – just time-consuming, cutting up fruit and chopping nuts.” The cookies, she says, are “pretty and delicious.”

3½ cups chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts)

6 ounces white raisins

6 slices pineapple (red and green, cut up)

½ cup light brown sugar

1 cup red and green cherries (cut up)

2 eggs

1½ cups flour

½ teaspoon soda

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ cup milk

1 stick butter

4 tablespoons bourbon

Cream butter and sugar. Sift dry ingredients to blend and add to creamed mixture. Add liquid ingredients and blend, adding nuts and fruit. Drop by spoonful on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in preheated, 300-degree oven for 20 minutes.

SHARE YOUR FAVORITE RECIPES

Send us your favorite Christmas cookie recipe, and we’ll include some of your submissions during the 12 Cookies of Christmas series. Send e-mails to james.folker@augustachronicle.com; letters to
725 Broad St., Augusta, GA 30913;
faxes to (706) 722-7403.

ABOUT THE SERIES

DEC. 14: Honeyed apricot tassies

DEC. 15: Cherry lime brownies

DEC. 16: Oatmeal blues drop cookies

DEC. 17: Strawberry pistachio icebox

DEC. 18: Cranberry coconut bites

DEC. 19: Mango marshmallow
bars

DEC. 20: Apple-orange spice drops

DEC. 21: PB&J cookies

TODAY: Ice cream cone date bars

MONDAY: Kitchen sink
cookies

TUESDAY: Brown butter fig thumbprints

WEDNESDAY: Tropical almond macaroons


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