FIG COOKIES (COUCHIE DATIS)

Makes 300. Recipe is from the Grandsons of Italy.

Filling

5 lbs. ground figs (You can use dried figs; soak and remove stems before grinding)

1 pint dates

1½ cups chopped pecans

Grated peel and juice of 1 orange

½ tsp. black pepper

2 tsps. sugar dissolved in ¾ cup warm water

½ pint fig preserves, undrained

Cookie dough

8 large eggs

2 cups sugar

1 tbl. orange flavoring

2 tsps. vanilla

10 cups flour

8 tsps. baking powder

1 lb. margarine

Icing

2 lbs. powdered sugar

2 tsps. margarine

1 tsp. orange extract

Evaporated milk as needed

Food coloring

Decorative sprinkles

1. Soak dried figs for about 10 minutes in warm water, then cut the stems off. Grind together figs, dates and pecans. When grinding, put a few figs, a few dates, and some pecans, alternating until all the dates, pecans and figs are used, ending with figs.

2. Add the orange peel and juice, black pepper, sugar water and preserved figs with syrup. Stir mixture for an even consistency. Roll filling mixture into logs about ½-inch in diameter and about 12 inches long and place on a pan lined with wax or parchment paper.

2. For dough, mix eggs, sugar, orange flavoring and vanilla with mixer until well blended and frothy; set aside. Mix flour and baking powder. Cut margarine into the flour and baking powder mixture, then add the egg mixture to the dough. Knead dough until it comes together into a soft ball. Continue kneading until smooth and soft to the touch. Let dough rest, covered, for a few minutes before starting to roll out and to add the fig rolls for the cookies.

3. Cut a section of the dough to use for cookies and cover the rest while not being used to keep mixture from drying out. Roll out dough into a rectangle approximately 1?8 inch thick, 4 inches wide and 8 inches long. Place a fig filling log in the center of the dough and wrap the dough around the mixture. Cut any excessive from the sides and ends. Seal the dough by pinching it closed around the fig mixture. Roll the fig cookie until it is an even shape and gets longer .

4. Cut the cookie log into 2-inch-long pieces. Cut 3 slits into one side of each piece. Place onto a cookie sheet coated with nonstick spray or covered with parchment paper and bake in a 350 F oven for about 12-15 minutes. When bottom of cookie is medium-brown, remove from oven and cool. The top of the cookies will still be light in color. Don’t over brown.

5. For icing: Mix together powdered sugar, margarine, orange extract or any other flavoring desired. Add enough milk to get a medium thickness. Next add drops of food coloring to get darkness of color desired. Blend the mixture well until smooth. Begin icing cookies. Add sprinkles while icing is wet and then place cookies on sheets of wax paper until dry.