fig thumbprint cookies
I can still remember the first time I ever ate a fig - straight off the tree in Skiathos, Greece on a trip with friends. I wouldn't deem it a magical moment, but it sure was eye-opening. Up until then my only encounters with figs were in the form of Fig Newtons. Perhaps I had been living in the city far too long or my knowledge base of produce was lacking - nevertheless the utopian idea of simply plucking fruit straight off the tree and delighting in the very moment was not something I was accustom to. Figs are one of the most stunning fruits, in my opinion ... their fruity inners exemplify the cosmic complexities of nature. The burst of color that contradicts their subdued exterior is rather shocking.
Since my encounter with figs in Greece; they have become one of my favorite fruits to chomp on. I rarely have the time to utilize them in the kitchen, due to a lack of spare time in general. Instead, they will be transformed in to preserves so their goodness can last throughout winter. My generous neighbor has 3 fig trees, much to my envy. Such envy is pacified as they often give me goodies. Just last week, I arrive home from an 11 hour work day to a basket of figs and peaches.
1} 1 cup of softened salted butter
2} 1/2 cup of sugar
3} 2 cups of flour
4} 1/2 teaspoon of salt
In a mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the sugar and butter on med-high until almost whipped. Then add flour and salt and mix on low until the concoction becomes a dough. Flatten dough into a disc approximately 1/2 inch thick, then wrap in plastic and set it in the refrigerator for an hour. Or if you are impatient - like me - put it in the freezer for 40 minutes.
Heat oven to 325. Form dough into balls about 1 tablespoon in size. Leave a thumb indention too. Bake for 10 minutes, then pull out the cookies and repress your thumb into them because they will rise. Place them back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Total baking time 20 minutes. Note: I actually use my index finger.
Icing Recipe: I used fig preserves for this cookie, here is a great tutorial for making fig preserves that I use. There are other ones, but this one is extremely thorough.
1} 1 1/4 cups of powdered sugar
2} 1-2 tablespoons of milk
3} 2 tablespoons of fig preserves
4} 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract *** optional
Whisk the icing ingredients together in a bowl. I start with 1 tablespoon of the wet ingredients (honey, fruit puree, preserve, milk) because they can be added if the icing is too think. Add ingredients until the flavor is to your liking. If the icing is too runny then add more powdered sugar. After piping the icing, the hardest trial is at hand - waiting 8 to 10 hours for the icing to harden.