Top | Cookies, Brownies, and Bar Cookies
(recipe, Carrie Floyd)
When I made Hamantaschen, I ended up with leftover filling — a filling so delicious, I started casting about for another way to use it up. A recipe for date swirls in The Gourmet Cookie Book caught my eye, and after a little tinkering, this cookie was born.
Though it looks fancy, it's not hard to make; it tastes like a really splendid Fig Newton.
- ¼ cup poppy seeds
- ¼ cup milk
- ¼ cup sugar
- 5 pitted figs or dates, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. raisins
- 5 walnuts, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. ground almonds
- Zest of 1 small lemon or orange
- 1 small egg yolk
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 oz. cream cheese
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 Tbsp. demerara or other coarse sugar (optional)
- Make the filling: Place the poppy seeds in a small saucepan and cover with the milk. Simmer for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally, then turn off heat and let cool.
- Place the sugar, dates or figs, raisins, nuts (both the walnuts and ground almonds), lemon or orange zest, and egg yolk in a bowl, and add the poppy seed-milk mixture. Transfer to a food processor with a steel blade and pulse until just combined. Refrigerate until the filling is chilled.
- Make the dough: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Cream together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, egg yolk, and flour mixture; beat just until a dough forms. Shape the dough into a disk, wrap it in waxed or parchment paper, and chill for 1 hour.
- Shape the dough: Remove the cookie disk from the paper and lightly flour the paper. Place the disk on top of the paper and roll out the dough into a large rectangle (13 inches by 10 inches) about ⅓ inch thick. Drop the poppy-seed mixture by spoonfuls onto the dough and gently spread the filling out to cover the dough, leaving a ¼ inch border (fingers work well). Starting with the long side, roll the dough jelly-roll style into a log, using the paper to help. Brush any excess flour from the paper; roll the log in coarse sugar to coat, if you want. Wrap up the cookie log and chill for several hours or overnight.
- Bake the cookies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper. Slice the log into ⅓-inch-thick cookies and arrange the cookies on the baking sheets about 1½ inches apart. Bake the cookies in the middle of the oven for about 15 minutes, until pale golden. Cool on racks.