I was never a picky eater. But there were some things I just didn’t like as a child. As an adult my taste has changed for certain foods and I have really grown to love fig cookies. As a child, store bought fig cookies were not one of my favorite. Maybe because it was the richness of the fig filling or maybe I just didn’t like how they were made in the bakeries. When my aunts made these cookies, that was another story. I used to love these cookies. I grew up eating fresh figs. Not always my own. My neighborhood was full of home gardens with fig trees. And we knew where they all were. We would conduct raids on a regular basis, risking life and limb to get at those lovely sweet fruits. There were plenty of grape vines in our neighborhood as well, but figs were always the primary target.
As an adult I’m still not crazy about store bought fig cookies. But these cookies are delicious. And what’s not to love? They are filled with figs and chocolate and nuts and all sorts of good things. I can’t get enough of them. As with many Italian cookies, these are not overly sweet, even with the fig filling. They go great with a cup of coffee, Italian or American, or a glass of milk.
Sicilian Fig Cookies
For the Dough:
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 2/3 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups dried Mission figs, soaked in boiling water till soft and drained, stems removed
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup candied orange peel
- 1/2 cup toasted almonds or hazel nuts
- 2 ounces semi sweet chocolate
- 1/3 cup apricot jam
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup dark rum
Yields about 48 cookies.
To make the dough place the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl and mix well. Cut in the butter until it is totally incorporated into the flour. Add the four eggs and vanilla and mix well until it forms a dough.
Roll the dough into a log and wrap in plastic wrap while you make the filling.
In a food processor add the figs, raisins, candied orange peel, toasted almonds or hazel nuts, semi sweet chocolate, apricot jam, cinnamon and dark rum. Pulse until you have a binding paste.
Roll the filling into a log on a floured surface, same size as the dough. Cut the cylinder into 4 pieces and divide each piece into 3 yielding 12 pieces.
Roll out the dough into a cylindar. Cut the cylindar into 4 pieces and divide each piece into 3 yielding 12 pieces.
Roll 1 piece of dough about 12″ long on a floured surface. Flatten the dough slightly. Roll out the fig filling into the same size as the dough. Brush the top of the dough with egg wash.
Place the filling on the center of the dough and wrap the filling with the dough. Roll it out a little longer.
Cut the filled cookie into 5 pieces. Make a slit at each end with a knife and open into an “X” and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Repeat till all the filling and dough are used up.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Sealed in an air tight tin, these cookies will keep for a month.