These cookies are a little work, but worth it! They taste like sherried fruit & nut cake in a thin butter cookie. Perfect for Christmas Tea.
½ pound good quality dried figs
¼ pound raisins or currants
2 ounces candied cherries, coarsely chopped
2 ounces dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon honey
2-3 tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 ounces chopped pecans
Pinch of kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup superfine sugar (++see note below about “superfine” sugar)
1/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 extra-large egg
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
(++you can make “superfine” sugar by processing granulated sugar for 60-90 seconds, measure AFTER)
NOTE: preparation for the fruit in these cookies requires starting a day before you bake.
Snip off the hard stems of the figs with scissors or a small knife and coarsely chop the figs. In a medium bowl, combine the figs, raisins, cherries, apricots, honey, sherry, lemon juice, pecans, and a pinch of kosher salt. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit overnight at room temperature.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, cloves, superfine sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the egg and mix until incorporated. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt just until combined. Don’t over-mix! Add the fruits and nuts, including any liquid in the bowl. Divide the dough in quarters and place each quarter on the long edge of a 12 by 18-inch piece of parchment or waxed paper. Roll each quarter into a log, 1 ½ inches in diameter, making a 9-inch-long roll. (We then made the rolls triangular just for fun.) Refrigerate the dough for several hours or overnight. Just before slicing, place each roll in the freezer for 10 minutes (which will enable you to make thinner slices.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
With your sharpest knife, cut the logs into very THIN slices (1/4 to 1/8-inch). Place the slices 1/2-inch apart on parchment-paper-lined baking sheets and bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden. Store in air-tight container. Cookies will be crisp at first and soften like butter cookies over the next few days.
Adapted from Ina Garten’s BACK TO BASICS COOKBOOK.
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