Valley Fig Growers

California Fig Squares

These simple, festive filled cookies are chewy, crunchy and fragrant with lemon zest and aniseed.

Makes 30 2-inch square cookies

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (240 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons (225 grams) unsalted butter

3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons aniseed, crushed with a rolling pin

1 large egg

1 medium lemon

1 1/2 cups (190 grams) coarsely chopped Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Mission Figs

1 generous tablespoon coarse sugar (such as turbinado) or regular sugar for topping

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together thoroughly.  Set aside.
  2. Put the butter, sugar, and vanilla in the mixer bowl.  Reserve ½ teaspoon of the crushed aniseed (to top the cookies) and add the remainder to the bowl. Mix just until the ingredients are blended and smooth (not light and fluffy).  Mix in the egg. Add flour mixture and mix just until thoroughly blended.
  3. Divide the dough in half.  Shape each piece into a flat rectangle about ½ inch thick and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to two days. 
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
  5. Remove the dough from refrigerator and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. 
  6. In a medium bowl, grate the zest of the lemon over the chopped figs and toss to blend. Set aside.
  7. Mix the topping sugar and cinnamon thoroughly. Set aside
  8. On a sheet of parchment or waxed paper, roll one piece of dough to a thin rectangular sheet 8 ½ inches by 16 ½ inches. Let the dough stick to the parchment, but dust the rolling pin lightly with flour as necessary to prevent it from sticking. With one short side facing you, cover the bottom half of the dough evenly with half of the figs. Fold the top half over the filling, using the parchment for a handle. Press on the parchment to adhere the dough to the fruit. Peel the parchment gently away from the dough (if it sticks, put it in the fridge for 10 minutes while you roll and fill the second piece of dough). Dust the top of the dough with a little flour and flip it over onto a cutting board. Peel off the parchment. Trim the edges of the dough with a sharp knife.  Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar and half of the reserved aniseed over the dough.  Press the sugar and seeds gently to adhere them. Cut 4 equal strips and cut each strip into 4 pieces to make 16 square cookies. Place cookies 1-inch apart on lined pans. Bake 12-15 minutes, until the edges and bottoms are lightly browned. Rotate the sheets from top to bottom and front to back about halfway through the baking. Set baking sheets on racks; cool cookies completely before stacking or storing. Cookies keep for at least a week in an airtight container.  

Equipment: A hand held electric mixer, or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment 2 cookie sheets, lined with parchment paper Recipe courtesy of Alice Medrich for Valley Fig Growers