German baking is a great thing. I feel cozy just thinking of it. In my mind, German bakeries are full of dark, sour bread and gingerbread. Stodgy anise and apple filled yeasted pastry. In this mind palace of mine, all German dessert is half breakfast, which is exactly how I like my dessert. Between that and my grandmother's signature kompot, I am a true daughter of my Eastern European ancestry. But we knew that by now, of course. Can't wait for that Polish Princess (next week's recipe, a riff on a modern Polish status cake). I'm also pretty excited for this book.
Dattelkonfekt has many of the ingredients I love--meringue, sturdy sweetness, simplicity--and although I'm not usually given to the sticky sweetness of dates, I do eat more of them around Passover, especially when I'm feeling Sephardic. So, in a way, this cookie links my Jewish identities. It's a perfect Passover treat, in that it's both flourless and kind of tastes like charoset, at least the date/orange kind I've been making in recent years. That said, my mind has been kind of elsewhere, and I baked this recipe late and took no pictures, and messed around with it.
The original recipe calls for an equal amount of dates and almonds, ground finely and folded into a sturdy egg white meringue with sugar and vanilla and not much else. My food processor was a bit too small for the date mixture, so I ended up with some lumps, although I helped out with my hands. I had no almonds, so I ground up a pile of walnuts. Walnuts are more oily than almonds, so my date mixture remained lumpy, but I thought their bitter edge cut the dates nicely. I also ran out of white sugar, so a little brown sugar entered the mix, which added moisture (bad in a meringue) and also made the cookies more prone to burning. It did add another darker flavor element, though, which worked.
I baked on a humid day, and had the aforementioned extra moisture, so it was no surprise that my cookies came out flat and chewy. They were no beauty queens, but they had a kind of health food cookie satisfaction (basically sugar). I took them to work and put them on the break room table, then noticed there were several bags of oreos there, left over from a book club meeting. I ate six oreos and left the dattelkonfekt. True story.*
*It was probably more like 7 or 8 oreos. I love oreos.