This recipe has been handed down through my mother’s family for years. My grandmother brought it with her from Italy in the early 1900’s. My mom taught me the recipe this year. Now I am the designated person in our family to make the Fig Cookies. This is a very high honor. So they must be as good as my Grandmothers' cookies. Some call them Homemade Fig Newtons. They are a tradition at Christmas and are wonderful with a hot cup of coffee. They are lot of work. I make them in stages. First the dough, then a few days later the figs, and finally I will make the cookies. The dough and the figs keep well in the refrigerator and the cookies freeze very well.
To Make Dough: Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs, vanilla, and salt. Blend in flour and baking powder by hand. Knead dough until smooth and workable. Add milk to reach workable consistency. (This takes a while and you will get a workout, but you’ll know when it’s right.)
To Make Filling: Cut up figs, orange, and apple into small pieces. (It is easier to grind this way). Grind figs, raisins, orange, and apple. If the mixture is too dry or thick, mix in up to 1 cup of water, if desired. (I do not use the water, the juice from the apple and orange are enough). The spices and chopped nuts are added to the ground fig mixture. After the fig mixture is ground, I sprinkle them in over the mixture and mix (knead) it in by hand. STICKY! But good.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Roll out some dough. (should be kind of thin). Put fig mixture in a line. Wrap dough over mixture, sealing figs inside dough. Trim to desired length, using a diagonal cut. Make small diagonal slits in the sides of the cookies. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 10-15 minutes. (Dough makes good cookies without the filling also). Wonderful with coffee.
Per Serving: 302 calories; protein 4.1g; carbohydrates 51.9g; fat 10.1g; cholesterol 19.4mg; sodium 71.8mg.