Italian Fig and Hazelnut Cookies
Servings: 40 cookies
Figs grow abundantly in Sicily, where these cookies originated. They are fun to create and really impress your guests. To toast hazelnuts, place chopped nuts in a heavy skillet coated with Teflon™ non-stick and shake over a medium flame until browned.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, milk, and vanilla; stir into the flour mixture. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly until the dough forms a ball. Cover; chill for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, chop the toasted nuts finely. Add the figs, raisins, and the orange peel. Cover and process until coarsely chopped. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, hazelnut liqueur, and cinnamon until smooth. With the food processor running, add the honey mixture in a continuous stream, processing until the fig mixture is combined.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease two large cookie sheets; set aside. Divide the chilled dough into thirds. (Dough will be soft and a bit sticky. Cover and refrigerate remaining dough while working with 1 portion.) On a well-floured surface, roll the dough until about 1/16-inch thick. Using a 1-1/4- to 1-1/2-inch round cutter, cut the dough into rounds. Place about 1 teaspoon of the fig filling in the center of each of the remaining dough rounds. Seal the dough edges around the filling by pressing with a fork, frequently dipping the fork in the flour to prevent sticking. Place on baking sheets coated with Teflon™ non-stick.
Bake about 10 minutes or until light brown around edges. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Sift powdered sugar over cookies before serving.