Italian Fig Cookies
Makes 244 cookies. Recipe is from Clarence Thibodeaux, of Morganza, and provided by his niece Joni Russo. “The recipe is an adaptation from the Cicero family recipe given to my uncle many years ago.”
3 (14-oz.) pkgs. dried figs
2 lbs. dark raisins
1 qt. fig preserves
3 cups pecans
14 cups (5 lbs.) flour
5 tbls. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3 cups sugar
5 eggs slightly beaten
2 cups milk
2 tbls. vanilla extract
1 tbl. almond extract
2 1/2 cups butter (Crisco baking butter-flavored shortening sticks are what we use)
Sprinkles, for decoration
1. To make fig filling: Place dried figs in bowl filled with warm water for about an hour. Drain, cut off stems. Grind or process figs, raisins, fig preserves and pecans in electric meat grinder or food processor. Mix well.
2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into large bowl.
3. In separate bowl, mix sugar, beaten eggs, milk, vanilla and almond extract. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and mix well. Cut in the butter (or Crisco) and knead dough with your hands until all of the butter or shortening is absorbed.
4. Divide the dough into small sections. Roll dough out on wooden cutting board to a 1⁄8-inch thickness and into a strip that is 12 inches long and 3 1/2 to 4 inches wide. Put fig filling in center of the rolled out dough. Lap the dough over the filling and roll to close, gently sealing the edges. Cut into about 11/2-inch pieces and place seam side down on pan.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Do not allow the bottoms to get too brown! Cool and ice.
Icing: Sift 2 (16-oz.) boxes confectioners’ sugar. Mix with water or milk until of icing consistency. Add food coloring of your choice. Icing may be mixed in quart-size self-sealing plastic bag. Snip small opening at one end of the bag and drizzle icing over cookies. Add sprinkles immediately. Allow cookies to dry before placing in containers.