Monday, September 30, 2013

TWD: X Cookies

Me oh my! I am so incredibly excited about this recipe because these cookies were insanely delicious. My only regret is that I halved the recipe! Next time, I will be making the full batch of 5-dozen cookies because I know that there will be NO PROBLEM getting them to disappear!

The cookies are reminiscent of a Fig Newton bar. If that image instantly turns you off, trust me...I had the exact same thoughts. Fig Newtons are one of those foods that I can neither look at or smell (much less eat!) because it reminds me of loooong car trips with my family where I was stuck in the very back of our 12-passenger van trying my best to get enough oxygen. Plus, the super soft, weird texture of the pastry surrounding the filling of a Fig Newton is just disgusting to me. Same with Nutri-Grain bars. I can't handle it.

When I heard that these cookies were supposed to be reminiscent of a Fig Newton, I instantly decided that I was not going to try them. However, upon reading through the recipe, the components of the filling intrigued me - in addition to the figs there was candied orange peel, chocolate, raisins, and almonds! Not to mention dark rum! I was intrigued and decided to just make half a batch in case we all ended up hating them.

The recipe was fun to put together! The most time consuming part was making the filling because I chose to candy my own orange peel. There were some beautiful blood oranges at the store, so I chose to candy their peel. While not difficult, it does take about 2 hours to candy the peel. Other than that little step, the food processor did the majority of the work as it was used to mix both the dough and the filling. The process of filling, rolling, and cutting the cookies was a bit more time consuming but still an easy and fun process. I might not have enjoyed it so much if Matthew had been running laps around the island while I was working, but since he was down for his nap I had a nice quiet house during the whole process. With the exception of Paul who was eating the filling faster than I could stuff it into the cookies.

They were both up (and staring at me) before the cookies finished baking. This is a really horrible picture,
but it illustrates their stalker-esque nature perfectly. They like to aggregate and simply watch me while I work.
"When will they be ready to eat, MOM!?!?"

The cookies bake for a quick 15 minutes before being removed to a rack and allowed to cool to room temperature. A quick dusting of powdered sugar and they are ready to eat! The pastry is slightly crispy, buttery, but sturdy enough to perfectly ensconce the marvelously complex filling (no soft, squishy, disgusting Fig-Newton pastry!). Every flavor melds together beautifully to create this elegant, unique cookie. Paul and I both agreed that these will be making an appearance on our Christmas cookie platter.

Head on over to the Tuesdays with Dorie website to see how the other bakers fared!

Italian X-Cookies
from Baking with Julia

For the Dough:
4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 ounces cold unsalted butter or 1/2 pound cold lard, cut into pieces
4 large eggs

For the Filling:
12 ounces dried Calimyrna or Mission figs
1/2 cup roasted unsalted almonds
1/3 cup apricot preserves
1/4 cup plump golden raisins
1/4 cup candied orange peel, diced (I highly recommend you make your own)
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup dark rum
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg beaten with a pinch of salt (for the egg wash)
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Put flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor fitted with the metal blade; pulse just to mix. Add the butter pieces and pulse 20 times. Add eggs and pulse until dough forms a ball on the blade. Remove from processor and knead briefly on a lightly floured work surface until smooth. Shape dough into a log and wrap in plastic. Set aside while preparing the filling.

Remove stems from figs and cut the figs into medium-size dice. Put figs and remaining filling ingredients into the food processor and pulse with the metal blade until finely chopped. Scrape filling onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead to blend it, and shape it into a rough log. Cut the log into 12 pieces.

Position racks to divide oven into thirds and preheat to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Working with one piece of dough at a time, on a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough under your hands to form a 12-inch rope. Use a rolling pin to roll the rope into a 3- by 12-inch rectangle. Run a blunt knife under the dough to make certain it is not sticking to the work surface and brush the top of the dough with egg wash. Roll a piece of filling into a 12-inch rope and center it on the rolled-out dough. Pull the dough up around the filling, making a seam, and roll it into a cylinder, about 15 inches long. Cut into 3-inch lengths. Place a cut piece of dough vertically in front of you, seam side down, and make two 1-inch-long cuts, one from the bottom, the other from the top, toward the center. Use your fingers to separate the slashes and create an X-shaped cookie. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking pans and repeat with the remaining portions of dough and filling. Bake cookies for 15 minutes, or until a light golden color. Transfer to racks to cool. Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar.

The recipe makes approximately 5 dozen cookies.


  1. I am the opposite of you! I should send you the other half I have in the freezer. I myself, prefer fig newtons over these. Love the picture of your children - so cute. :)

  2. I thought these cookies were good too - if fiddly in their assembly. I also only made half a batch... but on hindsight I think that was ok because the assembly would have killed me.

  3. Awesome! They look and sound amazing!

  4. Okay, I was the weird child who actually LIKED fig newtons :-)

    My girls are 18 & 19 and they still hover when I cook/ bake... I wouldn't have it any other way. (Cute picture)

  5. Wow, you're dedicated to make your own peel! I already had too much candied blood orange (as you do), bit otherwise wouldn't have bothered. We also loved this recipe, and I want to make these again, with proper icing (Italian style), for Christmas.

  6. that picture of the kids is hilarious-- they do look like they are stalking you! glad you liked these.

  7. I liked making these, and the filling smelled like my kitchen at Christmas. I also halved the recipe.

  8. Great looking cookies! So pretty with the powdered sugar. (I totally forgot that part) I really liked these cookies and will definitely make them again. (even though it was time consuming...but so worth it)

  9. I'm going to have to make these! It's a sign b/c I've seen them 3 different places in the last 24 hours :) THEY LOOK TASTY!