-Preheat oven to 170˚C (350˚F).
-In bowl of electric mixer, cream butter with powdered sugar and vanilla on medium speed. Mix flour with baking soda and beat into butter mixture on low speed. Add coffee or syrup and beat until combined. (Or, divide dough and add different flavoring to each one.) Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
-Shape dough into walnut-size balls and place, well apart, on a baking sheet. If topping with nuts, lightly press thumb into center of each ball and top with one whole nut.
-Bake for 15 minutes, until set but not browned.
-Let cool, then arrange on serving plate. If desired, sprinkle with cocoa powder or cinnamon, or drizzle with melted chocolate before serving.
-Roll dough into a cylinder. Cut diagonally into slices, then drag the tines of a fork over the top to decorate. Bake, let cool, then drizzle with chocolate.
-Shape dough into walnut-size balls. Press thumb into balls to make cups. Fill cups with smaller balls of date filling. Mold dough over filling, pressing seams to seal. Roll into date-shaped fingers. Roll in ground pistachios, then bake.
1 cup soft butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons instant coffee OR
2 teaspoons strawberry or mint syrup
-Whole nuts, coarsely chopped pistachios, coffee beans, or chocolate chips, for topping
-Cocoa powder or ground cinnamon, for sprinkling
-Melted dark and/or white chocolate, for drizzling
-Date Paste, for filling