This is a recipe I tested for The Post a few weeks ago that completely surprised and delighted me! I love figs, but didn’t think I’d like the walnut cookie part as much as I did. The recipe is very similar to a shortbread, and the nuttiness of the walnuts gave it a rich, graham cracker feel. It’s a great addition to your Christmas platter!
Walnut Fig Sandwich Cookies
For the cookies
- 1 cup walnut halves, toasted (see NOTE)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups unbleached flour, plus more for working the dough
- 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour (see headnote)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 large egg
For the filling
- 8 ounces (about 13) dried Calimyrna figs (tough stems removed), chopped (1 1/2 cups)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Peel (without pith) from 1/2 orange
- 1 cup water
For the cookies: Combine the walnuts and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a food processor; pulse 8 to 10 times, until the nuts are finely ground. The mixture should resemble very coarse sand. Transfer to a bowl, then whisk in the flours and salt.
Combine the butter and the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes until fluffy. Reduce the speed to medium; add the egg and beat to incorporate. Reduce the speed to low; gradually add the nut-flour mixture and beat just until a dough forms.
Lightly flour a work surface. Transfer the dough to the floured surface and divide the dough in half. Lightly flour your hands and press the dough into two disks that are 1/2 inch thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. (The dough can be frozen for up to 1 month.)
For the filling: Combine the figs, sugar, orange peel and water in a medium saucepan over high heat; bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the figs are soft and have absorbed most of the liquid, about 20 minutes. Discard the orange peel. Transfer the figs (not the liquid, but reserve it) to the bowl of a food processor; puree until smooth. Cool completely. If the mixture seems too thick, thin it with a little of the leftover liquid from the saucepan.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove one of the dough disks from the refrigerator and knead it 4 or 5 times on a lightly floured work surface to soften it. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out the dough to a thickness of a scant 1/4 inch. Use a 2-inch cookie cutter to cut out 18 rounds. Arrange them on the baking sheet, spacing them 1 inch apart. Wrap the scraps in plastic and refrigerate.
Bake the cookies until they are set and dry, 12 to 15 minutes. Slide the entire parchment sheet with the cookies onto a wire rack and let the cookies cool completely.
Repeat with the remaining disk of dough (and any scraps), using a separate sheet of parchment paper. You should have a total of 60 to 72 cookies.
To assemble the sandwich cookies, turn over half of the cookies so their bottom side is facing up; use a small offset spatula to spread them with about 1/2 teaspoon of the fig mixture. Top with the remaining cookies, with the bottom sides touching the filling.
NOTE: Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned. Cool completely before using.