Italian Fig Cookies
2 cups dried figs, hard tips discarded
1 1/2 cups dried dates, pitted
1 cup raisins
3/4 cup whole almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup whole walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup brandy
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
Colored sprinkles, for decorating
To make the filling, in a food processor, combine the figs, dates
and raisins and process to finely chop. Place the mixture in a
medium bowl, add remaining filling ingredients and stir to combine.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
To make the dough, in a large bowl combine the
flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and whisk to combine. Add the
butter and blend with your fingertips until most of mixture
resembles coarse meal.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg, milk and vanilla together. Add to
the dry mixture and stir to make a rough dough. Turn the dough out
onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5
minutes. Cut the dough into 4 pieces, cover, and refrigerate for 45
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 large baking
On a lightly floured surface, one at a time, roll out each piece of
dough into a 12-inch square. Cut the dough into 4 by 3-inch
rectangles. Spoon 2 tablespoons of filling down the center of each
rectangle. Fold the long sides of each rectangle inward to the
center to enclose the filling; pinch the edges to seal.
Turn the cookies seam-sides down and press gently
to flatten the seams. With a floured knife, cut the logs crosswise
into 1 1/2-inch-wide slices and arrange 1/2-inch apart on the
prepared baking sheets. Brush with egg wash and decorate with
colored sprinkles. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Transfer to wire racks to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.