Fruit and Spice-Filled Cookies

We took one bite of these dried fruit and nut-stuffed cookies and thought, this isn’t a cookie, it’s fruit and cake. Just kidding, that’s the old Fig Newton’s line, but that’s exactly what these warmly spiced nuggets taste like. If you’re a confident dough-roller, go ahead and work on a lightly floured surface, but if you’re new or timid roll the dough on a piece of parchment paper. That way, if the dough gets too soft, you can pop the whole thing in the refrigerator to firm back up before you proceed. We like to finish these with rainbow nonpareils but they’re just as pretty drizzled with the icing alone.

fruit-spice-cookies-cucidati
Photo by Jennifer Causey
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  • Makes 3 dozen
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We took one bite of these dried fruit and nut-stuffed cookies and thought, this isn’t a cookie, it’s fruit and cake. Just kidding, that’s the old Fig Newton’s line, but that’s exactly what these warmly spiced nuggets taste like. If you’re a confident dough-roller, go ahead and work on a lightly floured surface, but if you’re new or timid roll the dough on a piece of parchment paper. That way, if the dough gets too soft, you can pop the whole thing in the refrigerator to firm back up before you proceed. We like to finish these with rainbow nonpareils but they’re just as pretty drizzled with the icing alone.

Ingredients

  1. Check Filling:
  2. Check cup whole almonds, toasted
  3. Check cup walnuts, toasted
  4. Check ½ cup dried figs, chopped (about 3½ oz.)
  5. Check cup golden raisins
  6. Check ¼ cup pitted dates, chopped (about 2 oz.)
  7. Check ¼ cup honey
  8. Check 1 teaspoon orange zest plus ¼ cup fresh juice (from 1 orange)
  9. Check teaspoons Chinese five spice powder
  10. Check ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  11. Check Cookies:
  12. Check 2 cups (about 8½ oz.) all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  13. Check 1 teaspoon baking powder
  14. Check ½ teaspoon table salt
  15. Check cup granulated sugar
  16. Check ½ cup (4 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
  17. Check ¼ cup evaporated milk
  18. Check 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  19. Check 3 large egg yolks, divided
  20. Check 1 teaspoon water
  21. Check ½ cup (about 2 oz.) unsifted powdered sugar
  22. Check 2 teaspoons whole milk
  23. Check Nonpareils, for decorating

Directions

  1. Prepare the Filling: Place almonds and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add figs, raisins, dates, honey, orange zest, orange juice, five spice powder, and vanilla and pulse until evenly combined and almost smooth, 4 to 5 times, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Transfer mixture to a bowl, and cover until ready to use.
  2. Prepare the Cookies: Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
  3. Combine granulated sugar, butter, milk, vanilla, and 2 of the egg yolks in a large bowl; beat with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until well combined, about 3 minutes. (Mixture may look broken.) Add flour mixture and beat on low speed until well combined. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer dough to a work surface and divide dough in half. Shape each half into a 5-inch square and cover tightly with plastic wrap; chill until firm, 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with one piece of dough at a time, on a lightly floured surface, quickly roll dough into a 9-inch square, about ⅛ inch thick. (If dough becomes too soft to work with transfer to a piece of parchment and refrigerate until firm) Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut dough into 3 3x9-inch strips. Spread about 4½ tablespoons of the filling down the center of each rectangle. Starting with the long side, roll up each rectangle, jelly-roll fashion, and pinch seams closed. Cut each log crosswise on the diagonal into 6 pieces; transfer cookies to prepared baking sheets and arrange seam-side down and 2 inches apart. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
  5. Whisk together water and remaining egg yolk in a small bowl. Brush cookies with egg mixture.
  6. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool on sheet about 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
  7. Whisk together powdered sugar and milk in a small bowl. Drizzle mixture over cooled cookies, and immediately sprinkle with nonpareils.