Figs are the theme of this month's Sugar High Friday blog event, hosted by Ivonne from the lovely Cream Puffs in Venice. Great selection! I was excited because I have to admit, I've never baked with figs. So this was a treat--using a new ingredient for me. I had planned to go a local orchard and pick fresh figs, but I ran out of time and missed them for this year. So I chose these X shaped cookies from Baking with Julia.
These treats are a beautiful version of the classic fig newton. The filling combines figs, golden raisins, almonds, orange, chocolate, cinnamon, and rum--a wonderful combination when blended together. The soft dough is easy to work with and both the filling and dough are made in the food processor--easy! The assembly does take a bit of time but the rolled result is an enticing cross shaped cookie with a sweet figgy filling exposed on the inside. Nice! Perfect for an afternoon snack or with coffee for breakfast. A great first recipe using figs! Continue for X cookie recipe.
X Shaped Fig Cookies
adapted from Nick Malgieri, in Baking with Julia
4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
2 sticks cold, unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
Put the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade; pulse just to mix.
Add the butter pieces to the bowl and pulse 15-20 times to cut the butter in.
Add the eggs and pulse until the dough forms a ball on the blade.
Remove the dough and knead it briefly on a lightly floured counter until smooth.
Shape the dough into a log and wrap it in plastic wrap; set aside while making the filling.
(Don't clean processor--use it to make filling.)
One 12 oz package dried Calimyrna or Mission figs (I used a 9 oz bag)
1/2 cup unblanched almonds, toasted
1/3 cup apricot preserves
1/4 cup plump golden raisins (I used about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup candied orange peel, diced (I didn't have this and used zest, juice, and pulp from 1 orange)
2 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup dark rum (I didn't have this--used 1/2 t rum extract)
1/2 t cinnamon
1 egg beaten with a pinch of salt, for egg wash
Confectioner's sugar, for dusting
Remove stems from the figs and cut the figs into medium-size dice. (Figs and raisins should be moist; if not, plump them with boiling water before using.)
Put all filling ingredients into the bowl of the food processor and pulse with the metal balde until the mixture is finely chopped.
Scrape the filling onto a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper. Shape it into a rough log; divide into 12 pieces.
Position oven racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat to 350 degrees.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Working with one at a time, on a lightly floured counter, roll the dough under your hands to form an 8-10 inch rope. Pat it out into a 3 x 8 or 10 inch rectangle.
Run a spatula under the dough to make certain it hasn't stuck to the surface.
Brush the top of the dough with the egg wash.
Roll a piece of filling to the same length as the dough; place it in the center of the dough.
Pull the dough up around the filling,k making a seam, and roll it into a cylinder, lengthening the dough a little as you roll.
Cut the roll into 2 or 3 inch pieces.
Place a cut piece of dough vertically in front of you, seam side down, and make two 1-inch long cuts, one from the bottom, the other from the top, toward the center.
Use your fingers to separate the slashes and create an X-shaped cookies.
Transfer the cookies to the prepared pans and repeat with remaining portions of dough and filling.
Bake cookies for 15-20 minutes, or until just slightly browned, in 2 batches. Transfer to racks to cool.
Before serving, sprinkle with confectioner's sugar.