Fig and Date Swirls

I don’t think it’s appropriate to curse in  Christmas post, but I can’t help it. Holy $#!% these are good!

When I saw these cookies over at Lottie and Doof a couple weeks ago, they immediately went on my to-bake-this-month list. I have forever been a fig and date girl, so I had a hunch these would be good. I had no idea how good.

These cookies, spiced with anise and filled with orange-scented fig and date puree, are a Christmas dreeeeaaam. The combination of orange zest and anise screams mulled cider. They’re fragrant and soft, like the most fancy-pants Fig Newton you’ve ever met.

These cookies are easy, but you have to allot a good amount of time for chilling the dough between steps. If you’re smart, you’ll assemble them the night before you want them so that they can chill overnight in the fridge. If you do that, I promise these will have the biggest reward-to-work ratio of anything you’ll make this season.

Fig and Date Swirls

Adapted from Gourmet via Lottie and Doof. Makes ~3 dozen.

Two things. 1) I had to double the amount of water that I added to the puree to make a smooth paste. Start with the 1/3 cup and work up from there. 2) When you’re rolling the cookies, the filling will squeeze out the size seam at the end. Just wipe this away with your finger (eat it) and press the dough together.

1 c packed soft dried figs (8 oz), stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 cup packed pitted dates (8 oz), trimmed and coarsely chopped
zest of one small orange
1/3 c water
1/2 c plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t anise seeds, ground
1/4 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 t vanilla extract
1 lg egg yolk
1/4 c demerara sugar

  • In a food processor, puree the figs, dates, zest, water and 2 T sugar until almost smooth
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour anise, baking powder and baking soda
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese and 1/2 c sugar  on medium speed until fluffy (~3 min)
  • Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat until combined
  • Add the flour mixture and mix on low until combined
  • Divide the dough into 2 parts and pat into rectangles. Wrap in saran wrap and chill ~1 hour
  • Roll out once piece of dough between 2 pieces of wax paper into a 9″x7″ rectangle
  • Spread half of fig mixture  in an even layer over the rolled-out dough, leaving a 1/4″ border around the edges
  • Using the wax paper as an aid, start with the long side of the dough and roll into a log, as if you were making a jelly roll
  • Repeat with other half of dough and filling
  • Roll the dough logs in demerera sugar, wrap in wax paper and chill until firm, at least 4 hours (I froze mine for about 2.5 hours)
  • Heat oven to 350°F
  • Slice logs into slices 1/3″ thick. You should saw with your knife, rather than press down, which will squish your spirals
  • Arrange slices 1.5″ apart on a silpat or parchment-lines baking sheet
  • Bake ~15-17 min, or until just barely starting to turn golden
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