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Soft, delectable, sweet cookies touched by the sweet flavor of anise wraped wonderfully of healthful filling of fig and date.

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If you want a rating for these cookies, I’ll give 10/10. Yes, can’t believe how delicious these cookies are, all together from the filling to the dough layers.

Another successful recipe from The Gourmet Cookie Book. I made before Biscotti di Regina.

When my son’s 3rd grade class was planning to make bake sale week to collect money for the zoo trip. They were divided into two groups; one to design and sell cards of some zoo animals, and the other making cookies and goods for the bake sale. My son was so excited to be with the bake sale group so he will join me to make some cookies. I searched for a good and healthy cookie recipe to make for the kids, when I found it, I knew this is the one.

You can’t go wrong with the date and fig when it comes to nutrition, which are within the most food rich in fibers and nutrients. To make the filling, it’s better to use a food processor to purée the figs and dates and don’t forget to trim the stems from the figs before pureeing.

The cookie dough is so rich, I used cream cheese to give more extra flavors and yield to soft crunch that will melt in your mouth. The anise will add a pleasant sweet taste to the dough, and usually the taste complement better with fig and date. When making the dough, if it becomes too soft while rolling, chill it in the fridge until it is firm. This also will make it easy when you spread the filling, also make sure to Leave 1/4 inch border when spreading the filling.

Another good advantage, before baking and slicing, you could keep the logs chilled up to a week in the fridge, or freeze for a month, if you see that the amount of the cookies is too much. After baking ke ep the cookies in airtight container to keep up soft and fresh up to a week.

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Anise-Scented Fig and Date Swirls

1 cup packed soft dried figs stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 cup packed pitted dates  trimmed and coarsely chopped
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons anise seeds, ground in an electric coffee/spice grinder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup granulated raw sugar such as turbinado or Demerara

Purée figs and dates with milk and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in a blender or food processor until almost smooth.

p1

Whisk together flour, anise, baking powder and soda, and salt in a bowl. Beat together butter, cream cheese, and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at moderate speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla and yolk until combined well. Add flour mixture and mix at low speed until just combined.

p2

Halve dough and form each half into a rectangle. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, about 1 hour.

Roll out 1 piece of dough between 2 sheets of wax paper into a 9 by 7 inch rectangle, about 1/3 inch thick. Remove top sheet of wax paper and drop half of fig mixture by spoonfuls onto dough, then gently spread in an even layer, leaving a 1/4-inch border around edges. Starting with a long side and using wax paper as an aid, roll up dough jelly-roll style into a log. Roll log in raw sugar to coat completely. Make another log in same manner. Chill logs, wrapped in wax paper, until firm, at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

p3

Cut logs crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices and arrange slices about 2 inches apart on lightly buttered baking sheets. Bake in batches in middle of oven until pale golden, 15 to 17 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool.

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