Happy Holidays everyone! It's only a few days for Christmas, and I'm thinking this may be my last post before the holiday. I'd like to start off by wishing you all the best of the season and many thanks for reading and supporting my blog.
We've shoveled out from Thursday's blizzard and are ready to brave the stores to select presents for friends and family. Nope, we're not late or under pressure. This is the way we do it. In fact, one of our first dates was shopping together one day after work on the 23rd of December. I'm sure our trip will include lunch of sushi!
Figs are high on my list of favorite holiday foods. I think I stumbled upon them about ten years ago in a fancy-schmacy grocery and bought a few. Add some stilton, pears, port and a fire in the fireplace and it's perfect. Speaking of favortie things, I have one question. Why is Favorite Things considered a holiday song? Because of the warm woolen mittens? Geeesh. I love Julie Andrews, but I think it's a stretch. Back to the figs. I picked up three small boxes, brought them home, and then came across a recipe for Fig Cookies with red wine. I'm in!
You can start out with your dough or figs paste first. They both need to cool/chill so it won't really matter which you start with. I started with the paste. Chop the figs and open a bottle of red wine. Hmmm, what to do with the rest of the bottle after the 1 1/2 cups are in the pan?
Once in the pan, I added a pinch of salt to bring out the sweetness. You could also add black pepper or some anise seeds depending on your like/dislikes in the spice area. Simmer the figs until they're soft and the syrup if reduced it about 1/2 cup. It's hard to tell how much liquid is left, but tip the pan and when the syrup is almost gone, call it. Let mixture cool in the pan while you prepare the dough.
Now on to the dough. You can use a stand mixer, or hand mixer. Cream the butter and sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Add the salt, vanilla, zest., mix. Add the egg. Mix to combine. Mix in the flour just until the dough comes together. Flatten the dough in a rectangle and chill for about 30 minutes.
While the dough is chilling, you can puree the fig paste in a food processor or blender.
Notice how red the spread looks. I was a little worried at first, but it darkens when it cooks. This is a good time to preheat your oven.
Using floured parchment paper. Roll the dough about 12inches long and about 14 inches wide. If it's easier, you can do this in two parts, so the dough is 12 x 7 or so. It should be about 1/8" thick.
Now for the tricky part. Make 3 inch wide strips, and pipe the filling about 1/2 inch down the center. Resist the temptation to use too much filling. If the dough feels too sticky or warm, don't hesitate to pop it back in the refrigerator for a few moments.
Fold the strips to the middle, slice into cookies and place seam side down on the parchment-lined baking sheet. I had a fair amount of scraps that I baked just for fun.
After 20 minutes at 350 degrees F, the cookies was perfect! Golden on the bottom and very fragrant. I knew they were super hot, but I had to try one right of the oven. It was so, so delicious!
To print this recipe, click HERE
1 1/2 cup chopped figs (about 10 ounces)
3/4 cup red wine
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt
1 4/ tsp black pepper or 1/2 tsp anise seeds (optional)
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
flour for dusting/rolling
For the Filling:
In a saucepan, combine all all the filling ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until most of the liquid has reduced and the figs are tender. The spread will have about 1/2 cups of liquid with the soft figs. Allow the mixture to cool in the pan while you assemble the dough.
For the Dough:
With a mixer, mix the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Add the salt, zest, and vanilla and mix. Add the egg, and mix. Reduce the speed of the mixer and add the flour. Mix until just combined. Remove the dough from the bowl, and make 1 or 2 rectangles. Wrap with parchment paper and chill for 20-30 minutes or until cool and firm to the touch. It’s a little easier to work with two smaller pieces of dough.
For the Cookie Assembly:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Place a rack in the center position.
Dust a piece of parchment paper (large enough to roll the dough on) with flour. Place the dough on the parchment, dust, and cover with another sheet. Roll the dough to approximately 1/8” thick. You should have a rectangular shape, 12” tall and about 7-12 inches wide depending on the size of your piece of dough. Carefully cut the dough in 3 inch wide strips. Don’t worry about separately the strips. Using a pastry bag or plastic big with a 1/2 “ tip, pipe the fig filling down the center of each strip about 1/2” wide. Be careful not to overfill the strips.
If the dough is soft, you may want to re-chill for 5 minutes or so. When you’re ready, carefully fold the side of the strip toward the center. Slice the strip into cookies, about 1 1/2 inches long, or to your preference. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet seam side down. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the bottoms of the cookies are golden brown. Repeat if you used two pieces of dough.
Makes 24-36 cookies, depending on size (and rolling/folding skill)
Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine 2012