Makes 4 dozen
1 ½ cups water
¾ cup sugar
3 – 4 tablespoons dark Jamaican rum
½ cup all-purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
½ cup strained cocoa powder, spooned in and leveled
¾ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
½ cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to tepid
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup hand-pitted dates (1/4 inch dice)
1 cup medium chopped pecans
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, spooned in and leveled, divided, for dusting
Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place the water and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, then simmer for one minute. Off the heat, stir in the rum and set aside.
- Position the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Coat the mini-muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the eggs on medium speed, about one minute. Add the dark brown sugar, the dark brown corn syrup, melted butter and extracts. Mix until well blended, about one minute. On low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until just blended. Using an over-size rubber spatula, fold in the dates and pecans.
- Using a teaspoon, spoon the batter into the mini-muffin tins, filling them about two-thirds full. Bake for 9 – 10 minutes, or until the cookies are just set on top.
- Remove the muffin tins from the oven and let the cookies rest in the pans for five minutes, or until the cookies pull away from the sides of the pans. Invert the pans onto waxed paper, tapping firmly against the countertop to release the cookies.
- While the cookies are still warm, using a slotted spoon, dip each cookie into the warm syrup and place on a thin wire cooling rack. The cookies should only be moistened with the syrup, not soaked. (Discard any leftover syrup.) Let the cookies air-dry for 25-30 minutes.
- Place one cup of the confectioners’ sugar in a large shallow baking dish, such as a pie plate. Working with one cookie at a time, roll in the sugar, coating thoroughly. While still in the dish, use the heel of your hand to gently flatten the cookie to approximately ½-inch thickness. Return to the rack and air-dry for 30 minutes. Repeat with the remaining cookies.
Note: When ready to serve, roll the cookies in the remaining cup of confectioners’ sugar. This may be done up to twelve hours ahead. The cookies are best served at room temperature.
Storage: Store the cookies in and airtight container, layered between sheets of waxed paper, and refrigerate until ready to use. These cookies will keep for up to 4 weeks in the refrigerator. Freezing is not recommended.