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Favorite Fig Cookies

I have several good recipes for Cucidati, Italian fig cookies, but my family prefers this very basic version. It is lower in sugar and easier to make. Best of all, it offers a wonderful combination of Christmas spices.

Makes about 120 medium cookies.


Biscuit Cookie Dough:
  • 5 c bread flour or all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 c salted butter, cold
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp anise extract
  • 1/2 c milk
Fig Filling:
  • 2 c chopped walnuts
  • 16 oz Smyrna dried figs, de-stemmed, finely chopped
  • 10 oz pitted Deglet Noor dates, finely chopped
  • 8 oz raisins
  • 2 small oranges, zest only
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 c warm water
  • 1/4 c spiced rum


Biscuit Cookie Dough:
  1. In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and baking powder.
  2. Dice cold butter.
  3. Cut butter into dry ingredients with pastry cutter or fork until pebble-sized and well-distributed.
  4. Add beaten eggs, anise extract, milk, and rum. Mix with wooden spoon until dough just starts to come together like biscuit dough.
  5. Transfer dough to lightly floured surface. Flour top and knead briefly until smooth. (Do not over-work.) Divide into 4 equal pieces.
  6. Wrap each piece into plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours.
Fig Filling:
  1. In a large bowl, combine walnuts, figs, dates, raisins, orange zest, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, warm water and rum. Blend well.
  2. Place half of the fig mixture in a food processor. Pulse until a thick, sticky consistency, with small bits of fruit and nuts throughout.
  3. Repeat with remaining filling.
  4. Place filling in tightly sealed containers; refirigerate at least 6 hours.
Assembly and Baking:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place oven racks roughly in the center of oven.
  2. Line 2 full-sized baking sheets with parchment paper (or 4 half-sized baking sheets).
  3. Lay out 2 (16 inch x 12 inch) sheets of wax paper on your work surface.
  4. Form the fig filling into (8) “logs” that are about 3/4 inch thick and 15 inches long. :Lay them out on the sheets of wax paper with 4 logs on each sheet.
  5. On a floured surface, place one cold dough ball. Flour the top and roll it out until it is 15 inches long and 10 inched deep. Cut the depth in half with a dough scraper or knife, forming (2) 15 inch x 5 inch rectangles.
  6. Lay one of the fig logs on one rolled dough rectangle. Fold and roll the dough over the filling, sealing the dough and smoothing the roll neatly. Slice roll at the diagonal, forming about 15 one-inch cookies.
  7. Place cookies on the prepared baking sheets seam-side down, with about 1″ between them..
  8. Repeat until all dough and filling is used.
  9. Bake about 10 minutes; turn and rotate cookie sheets. Bake another 10-12 minutes, or until browned on bottom and firm on top.
  10. Transfer to cooling rack. Cool completely before placing in paper-lined gift tines.

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