The holidays are soon upon us and the gracious houseguests among you will be looking to contribute to your host's holiday table. This is not always an easy task due to the difficulties of transporting some of your best creations. Many is the time The Soup Lady has driven at break-neck speed to get to Uncle Joe's house before the Jello mold comes undone. Unfortunatley, high-speed driving, while good for the Jello, is bad for the crockpot full of soup. Two-words: upholstery cleaner.
Why not go with elegant baked goods? Let everyone else argue about who gets to bring the pumpkin pie - you can bring these elegant cookies. The recipe for these fancy figgies comes to us courtesy of Bridget Kane. These cookies taste as good as they look. They are a complex blend of preserved fruits and are sure to cause a sensation on the dessert buffet. And sensation is what were going for, isn't it?
For the dough: Put flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a food processor and pulse just to mix. Add the butter pieces and pulse 15-20
times to cut in the butter. Add the 4 eggs and pulse until the dough forms a ball. Remove the dough and knead briefly on a lightly floured work surface until it is smooth. Shape the dough into a log, wrap with plastic and set aside.
For the filling: Remove stems from dried figs and dice. The figs should be soft and moist. If they are too dry, plump them in boiling water for five minutes before dicing. Put the figs and the rest of the filling ingredients in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Scrape out of the bowl onto the work surface , knead to blend, and shape into a log. Cut the log into 12 pieces.
Preheat the oven to 350 and place racks so that oven is divided into thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll each piece on a floured work surface until you form a 12-inch-long rope of dough. Use a rolling pin to flatten out into a rectangle 3 inches wide by 12 inches long. Run a knife under the dough to make sure it is not too stuck to the work surface. Brush the dough with the beaten egg. Roll a piece of filling into a 12-inch rope and place in the middle of the dough. Pull the dough up around the filling, making a seam, and roll the filled dough into a cylinder, lengthening it a bit until it is about 15 inches long. Cut the filled cylinder into 5 3-inch lengths. Repeat with the other pieces of dough and filling.
Take a cut piece of filled dough and place it seam-side down on the work surface. Make a 1-inch cut in each end and separate the ends to make the cookies into the shape of an X. Repeat with all the pieces. Transfer to the baking sheets and bake for 15-20 minutes until they are a light golden color. Transfer to racks to cool. Dust with confectioner's sugar once completely cooled.
Yield: "5 dozen"
Blueberry is one of the most popular patterns for Stangl collectors. Click here for a close-up of The Soup Lady's relish dish in this pattern.