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1990s Recipes + Menus

Anise-Scented Fig and Date Swirls

September 1996
It’s hard to think of a more festive stocking stuffer than these, which swirl a gooey, sticky fruit filling with a slightly tangy cookie. If the dough becomes too soft while rolling, chill until firm.

This is just one of Gourmet’s Favorite Cookies: 1941-2008. Although we’ve retested the recipes, in the interest of authenticity we’ve left them unchanged: The instructions below are still exactly as they were originally printed.
  • 1 cup firmly packed dried figs (as soft as possible)
  • 1 cup firmly packed pitted dates
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated refined sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground anise seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup granulated raw sugar (turbinado or Demerara)
  • In a blender purée figs and dates with water and 2 tablespoons refined sugar. In a bowl, whisk together flour, anise, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter, cream cheese, and remaining 1/2 cup refined sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, yolk, and flour mixture and beat until a dough forms. Form dough into a disk. Chill dough, wrapped in wax paper, 1 hour, or until firm enough to handle.
  • On a lightly floured sheet of wax paper with a floured rolling pin roll out dough into a 13- by 10- inch rectangle, about 1/3 inch thick. Drop fig mixture by spoonfuls onto dough and gently spread an even layer over dough. Starting with a long side, roll dough jelly-roll fashion into a 13-inch log, using wax paper as a guide. Roll log in raw sugar to coat. Chill log, wrapped in wax paper, 4 hours, or until firm.
  • Preheat oven to 350° F. and lightly butter 2 baking sheets.
  • Cut log into 1/3-inch-thick rounds and arrange about 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake cookies in batches in middle of oven until pale golden, about 13 minutes, and transfer to racks to cool. Makes about 36 cookies.
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