Or should they be called Figgy Toffee Pudding Cookies? Or am I thinking of sticky toffee pudding? One thing's for sure, though: These guys are a tastier, chewier, homemade version of Fig Newtons. (Incidentally, I learned in Francine Segan's cookie talk at the 92nd St. Y that Fig Newtons were named for the town Newton in Massachusetts, not for Sir Isaac of apple/gravity fame.)
Figgy pudding is a traditional English Christmastime treat. In the U.K., a "pudding" can be anything from a steamed cake to a sausage. I know...wacky, right? (I have a feeling Jell-O won't be making Blood Pudding Pops anytime soon.)
I got the idea for this cookie from an episode of Nigella Lawson's show on Food Network. She made a chocolate fig cake for her Christmas episode. It was so English-y! Scenes from Love Actually and all my favorite Britcoms ran through my head. And so I started researching figgy pudding and how to turn it into a cookie.
Traditional figgy pudding has four main components: figs, spice, citrus, and a sweet, creamy topping. To incorporate all those flavors into a cookie, I used plumped-up dried figs, two kinds of ginger, cinnamon, and orange and lemon zests. To duplicate the sweetness of the pudding's creamy topping, I used toffee bits.
This is the second version of the recipe. In the first, I used fig preserves as the main wet ingredient. The taste was there, but the cookies were hard as a rock when they cooled. To correct that, I eliminated the fig preserves and decided to reconstitute the dried figs in warm water to plump them up and to add some more moisture to the dough. Success! (If you enjoy a little nip now and then, try reconstituting the dried figs in some booze. A mixture of 2/3 cup rum and 1/3 cup water would be brilliant!)
One bite of these cookies will have you saying "God bless us, every one." Happy Christmas!
The baked cookies don't spread or flatten much because the figs are so thick. For a flatter cookie, smoosh the dough balls a little with a spatula about halfway through baking.
Makes 3 dozen cookies. (To see this recipe in process, check out Picturing Toffee Figgy Pudding Cookies.)
1 stick butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
|1 egg |
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 teaspoons microplaned fresh ginger
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped dried figs, soaked and strained
2 1/2 cups oatmeal|
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup toffee bits
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
- Roughly chop the dried figs and soak in 1 cup warm water to plump for 15-20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- In your Kitchen Aid or a large mixing bowl, cream together the creamables.
- In a small bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Whisk together until smooth.
- Add the combined wet ingredients to the creamables. Mix together until well incorporated.
- Strain the figs, discarding the remaining water. Add the plumped figs to the combined wet ingredients and creamables. Mix together until well incorporated.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients. Using a spatula, fold together until evenly distributed.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients to the combined creamables and wet ingredients. Mix until evenly combined.
- Shape dough into balls--about 2 tablespoons each.
- Place the dough balls about 2 inches apart on Silpat- or parchment paper-lined cookie sheets.
- Bake at 350º for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let stand for 2 minutes. Then place cookies on wire racks to cool. (For a flatter cookie, smoosh the dough balls a little with a spatula about halfway through baking.)