Friday, December 03, 2010

Red wine fig cookies

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Oldies but goodies!

Shaping the fig filled-cookie to the letter "X" (stands for X'mas) had drawn big oooh-aaahs from many readers of internet or cookbook years ago. Nick Malgieri, an incredibly professional chef in US, also demonstrated making the X cookies on TV.

Nowadays that Christmas-sy X cookies seem disappearing from all medias, although I believe, most Italian mamas' from Paterson and Totowa (the district I lived when I was in US) still make them every Christmas, just as what their moms or grandmas did generations ago.

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I love having the fig cookies for holiday's season too. This time, I've varied the Christmas-sy outlook so that it crosses over the boundary and now is able to celebrate every holiday. For the filling, considering my modern pantry is probably very different from that of old time... I don't stock up raisin or candied orange peels or even apricot preserve (which called by the original recipe), for sure a bottle of red wine is always available though... therefore, I have skipped quite a few items but the filling still tastes superb, by doing this I simply poached the dried figs in spice-infused red wine. The result turns out very satisfactory, and I am happy to show you how I did it.
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Red Win Fig Cookies

(yield 16 cigar-shaped cookies plus 10 star cookies)

recipe courtesy X Cookies by Nick Malgieri

(the following version of mine doesn't include any sugar in the dough, the sweetness would be coming from the fig filling and sugar sprinkle outside)

To make the cookie dough:

  • 300 g plain flour (the one for making bread not suitable)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 110 salted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
  • 2 very large eggs
  • (sugar for sprinkling on top)
  • (1 extra egg for egg wash)

In a large bowl, well combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Drop in the cold butter cubes, use a pastry cutter to further break up the butters while mixing them with the flour until the size of the butter is similar to very coarse cornmeal. Add the eggs and mix, knead briefly if necessary, then you would get a tender and soft (but not sticky) dough.

Divid the dough into three portions. Wrap them well and place them in the lowest shelf of the fridge, rest for a half day. Then roll them into a flat disk, wrap them up again, rest for another 2 hours (at least) in fridge. After that it's ready to use.

To make the filling

  • 2 cup of spice-infused red wine (mine is saved from after poaching the pears)
  • 400 g dried figs *
  • 30 almonds, ground them
  • a big handful of finely chopped milk chocolate
  • 1 tsp instant coffee granules, crushed into powder

* select the figs a bit dried which are more suitable for poaching. If yours already moist enough, you can follow Nick's ingredient list then.

Bring the spice-infused red wine to boil, add the dried figs, lower the heat and let the liquid simmers for 15 minutes or before the figs are turning too soft. Drain the figs very well. Process them into a paste. Then combine it with ground almond, chocolate and coffee powder. Taste and adjust the texture/ flavor by adding a bit more fig or chocolate or almond if necessary.

To assemble the cookies

To make the cigars - Roll one portion of doughs to 2 mm thick, try to roll it to a rectangle shape. Then refrer the step-by-step photos of my previous post for wrapping in the filling. The difference is, this time I made the log bigger, and with a help of very sharp razor blaze I made 2 slits on top of each cigar. Egg wash and sprinkle sugar allover the top of the cookies.

To make the star cookies: Roll one portion of doughs to 2 mm thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out 20 pieces of dough. Spoon the fig filling on 10 of the pieces, cover the top with another plain piece. Egg wash, and generously sprinkle sugar on top (please note this type of cookies is not able to hold a lot of filling like cigar cookies do, so it's better to sprinkle more sugar outside)

Pre-head the oven to 170F.

Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, you can lower the heat to 165 F in the last 7 minutes if the cookies turn brown too quick.

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6 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Delightful! Those cookies must be haevenly.

Cheers,

Rosa

Anh said...

i know how much you love the fig cookies!!

babyskiffie said...

Ahh another great cookies for xmas!

Mariska
The Baking Dummy

Hannah said...

Oh gosh! This is my first visit to your blog :) These cookies are utterly gorgeous! My kind of Christmassy :)

Sean Grey Hanson said...

Christmas won't be perfect without this.

Stefania said...

Una bellissima idea questa realizzazione , ciao