06 December 2012

Helen Allen's Figgy Pudding Butter Cookies

When the kids were little, we had a kid-sized record player and a stack of children's 45's that they slapped on and off the turntable, dancing and singing around the living room at top volume. I would bring out the special stack of Christmas music when we brought out the Advent calendars and the Christmas coloring books and crafts and they would crank up the tunes and their excitement level.

One of the songs had these catchy little lyrics ... "Christmas cookies and holiday hearts! That's the way the holiday starts! Christmas cookies and holiday hearts! Goody goody yum yum yum!" I can still hear the kids singing that tune at the top of their lungs, especially when I begin baking the first of the holiday cookies!

We received our first couple Christmas cards in the mail today, and it put me in the mood to sit with cookies and write some cards of my own.  I couldn't resist making a batch of Figgy Pudding Butter Cookies. I have had my eye on this Food 52 community recipe since I received The Food 52 Cookbook for Christmas last year ... so today, as I hummed a few choice Christmas tunes, I made these decidedly 'adult Christmas cookies'.

This recipe makes a subtle little wafer of a cookie that is not overly sweet. It has a figgy flavour with a background hint of citrus and spice. The sugar drizzle has a strong hit of brandy and butter ... a perfect foil to the cookie's flavours. I had the first few baked cookies with some cider that was left over from our Sunday brunch. Yum .... I'm cranking up my holiday heart! Goody goody yum yum yum .... now, I think I'll get out the Christmas cards and a pen.

Figgy Pudding Butter Cookies

Makes: about 3 dozen small cookies


1 ½ c. flour
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
10 large dried Calimyrna figs
1 c. milk
12 tbsp. unsalted butter
¾ c. confectioner’s sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp. orange zest

Brandy  & Sugar Glaze:

1 ½ c. confectioner’s sugar
5 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. brandy (the good stuff)
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Making the Cookies:

  1. Sift together the flour salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a small bowl and set it aside.
  2. Place the butter in the bowl of a mixer and let it soften.
  3. While the butter softens, chop the figs until they are in very small bits.
  4. Place the figs and the milk in a small saucepan and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the figs are really soft and tender. Turn the heat off under them and let them sit and cool while you begin to put the cookie dough together.
  5. Whip the butter until it is light yellow and creamy.
  6. Add confectioner’s sugar and continue whipping until smooth.
  7. Add  the egg and beat more gently to combine.
  8. By hand, mix in the flour mixture to make a stiff dough.
  9. Strain the figs, discarding the milk and add the figs and the orange zest to the dough.
  10. If the dough seems a bit dry, add a dash of orange juice to the batter to help incorporate the rest of the flour.
  11. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for two hours.
  12. Pre-heat the oven to 350° F and place a rack in the lower midsection of the oven.
  13. Divide the dough into three measures and roll out one at a time on a well-floured surface to a thickness of about ⅛ inch. Cut small rounds of other shapes and place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets about an inch apart.
  14. Bake for 12 minutes or until the outer edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown.
  15. Remove from the cookie sheets immediately upon removal from the oven.
  16. To make the glaze, place the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan and place the pan over medium-low heat. Stir to melt the butter and incorporate the brandy and vanilla extract. When the sauce is smooth, with no lumps, use a fork to dip and drizzle over the finished cookies.
  17. When the cookies are cool, drizzle generously with the brandy sugar glaze.
  18. Let the glaze set before placing the cookies in the cookie jar.





  1. Christmas had really snuck up this year, but there is still plenty of time to start baking.

  2. I love that Christmas song that says," now bring us some figgy pudding" These look delicious. I love a glazed cookie and with a touch of brandy......even better!


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