Holiday Cookies #1 – Fig, Fruit and Pecan
Nothing smells better than holiday cookies baking on a cold winter’s night. A fire going in the fireplace, some hot chocolate or even a cold glass of milk, and warm cookies straight from the oven are enough to bring back all the fond memories of childhood.
Thankfully, making cookies is not very difficult, even for the beginner baker. In addition, it’s something you can usually do with your children or grandchildren. It’s tasty fun for the whole family. The following ten cookie recipes are sure to bring you and your family much joy and many new memories.
Yield: About 5 dozen small cookies
You’ve heard of the holiday fruitcake – you know the one that’s been passed around for generations and no one ever eats? Or so the story goes. Well, the same cannot be said for these delicious cookies that are full to the brim of delightful candied and dry fruit. You will love these. They make a great gift, wrapped in a nice holiday-themed tin.
1/4 pound raisins
2 ounces candied cherries, coarsely chopped
2 ounces dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 ounces chopped pecans
1 pinch table salt
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 extra large egg
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon table salt
Begin by preparing the fruit and nuts. Cut off the hard stems of the figs and discard. Then, using your favorite tool, coarsely chop the figs as well as the cherries, apricots, and pecans. Set each aside after chopping.
In a large bowl with a lid, add the figs, raisins, cherries, apricots, honey, sherry, lemon juice, pecans, and a pinch of salt. Mix gently but well.
Place the lid on the bowl and let the fruit mixture sit overnight, at room temperature. This allows the fruit to marinate.
In a large bowl, add the butter, cloves, superfine sugar, and brown sugar. Cream the ingredients together using a mixer set on medium speed.
Change the speed to low and add the egg. Mix well. Slowly add the flour and 1/8 teaspoon salt until well combined. Add the fruit and nut mixture that marinated overnight as well as the liquid. Mix thoroughly, until the liquid has been absorbed and firm dough has formed. Set aside.
Tear off or cut two pieces of wax paper that are 12×20 inches in size. Place these on a large surface like a kitchen table, where you will have room to roll the dough.
Divide the dough in half, placing each half on the long edge of the waxed paper. Roll each half into a log that is 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches thick. This should make the log approximately 16-18 inches long. Wrap the paper around the finished log, twisting the excess paper on the ends of the log to close.
Refrigerate or freeze the dough for several hours. The log should be very firm but not frozen through, making it easier to cut and bake. You may opt to freeze the first dough log that you will bake, leaving the remaining log in the refrigerator while you slice and bake the first log. This works well if you plan to bake both logs in one day.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
With a small, sharp knife, cut the log into 1/2 inch thick slices. Place the slices 1/2 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until they are a light golden brown.
It is important to keep the dough log you are working with firm while baking the first batch of cookies. Pop the partial log in the freezer for a few minutes any time it starts to soften or becomes too difficult to slice.
Recipe adapted from: http://www.foodnetwork.com