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Recipe

Ms. Corsima Cecile Territo's Italian Fig Cookies

  • Yield: About 250 cookies

Ingredients

  • FOR THE FIG MIXTURE:
  • 4 (8-ounce) packages dried figs, stems removed
  • 1 (15-ounce) box raisins
  • 1 small naval orange, peeled and flesh chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • FOR THE DOUGH:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 sticks butter, melted
  • One-half cup vegetable shortening, melted
  • ICING:
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 2 (16-ounce) boxes confectioners' sugar
  • 6 ounces evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions

  • Make the fig mixture: Grind or process together the figs, raisins and orange. In a large bowl, combine the fig mixture with the sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, pecans and water. Set aside.
  • Make the dough: In a saucepan, combine the sugar, water and vanilla and cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. In a large bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder. Form a well in the center of the mixture. Add sugar and water mixture, and the eggs and mix "with your hands until it looks like lamb's wool." Gradually add the butter and shortening, and mix well. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Make the cookies: Spray several cookies sheets with non-stick spray. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Pull off a small ball of dough, a little smaller than golf ball, and roll thinly into a rectangle about 6 inches wide and 8 inches deep. Place about one-half cup of the fig mixture in the middle of the dough and fold the dough over it. Seal the dough around the edges and, "roll the long raw cookie back and forth to stretch it a bit." Cut the cookie in half lengthwise, then cut it again twice across the cookie to make 6 cookies, each approximately 2 inches square. Place the cookies on the cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool slightly, then "gently place them in a pile onto a cloth that is big enough to wrap around the entire pile of cookies until you are ready to frost them." Repeat with remaining cookie dough and fig mixture.
  • Ice the cookies when all are baked and cooled.
  • Icing: Several jars of multi-colored sprinkle decorations
  • In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy and lighter in color. Alternately add the sugar and milk, beating well after each addition. Stir in the lemon juice and mix well. Ice each cookie and sprinkle with decorations."When frosting your cookies, try to shake the candies over a fairly deep container so they won't bounce all over the place." Allow the cookies to dry overnight in a single layer before storing in airtight containers.