This Thanksgiving was unusual, to be sure. Our family made the decision to spend it with just our immediate household, and while my two kids understand the necessity of social distancing, it still brought a lot of heartache. We made a short house call to our family: dropping off pies on doorstops: pumpkin, chocolate mousse, and apple. “I have always loved a window, especially an open one,” Wendell Berry commented, and I couldn’t help agreeing with him after throwing hugs and kisses to my sweet little nieces through glass.
But we had each other, we had plenty of food, we had a roof over our heads, and it was enough. “History overflows time. Love overflows the allowance of the world. All the vessels overflow, and no end or limit stays put. Every shakable thing has got to be shaken. [N]othing is ever lost, and we are compacted together forever, even by our failures, our regrets, and our longings.” Wendell Berry
I’ve partnered with Valley Fig Growers today to bring you a new recipe: Fig and Orange Sables. The sables are made with California Dried Figs and based on the Sables recipe from my 100 Cookies cookbook. I grew up in a household that always had a package of soft fig-filled sandwich cookies in my kitchen cupboard; they were a favorite afternoon snack, along with a glass of milk. These sables evoke the memory of those cookies, but instead boast buttery, crisp edges and delicious flavor. (I also now pass on the milk and prefer espresso with these pretty circles.)
Fig and Orange Sables Recipe
3/4 cup [135 g] Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Dried Figs
1 cup [200 g] granulated sugar
1 cup [2 sticks or 227 g] unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon orange zest
½ teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups [284 g] all-purpose flour
1/4 cup [40 g] Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Dried Figs, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 oz [55 g] candied orange peel
1 cup [200 g] sanding or turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the 3/4 cup [135 g] of the figs and the granulated sugar. Pulse until the figs and sugar are combined and the mixture resembles coarse sand, about 10 pulses.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and fig mixture, orange zest, and salt, and beat again on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add the egg yolk and vanilla, and mix on low speed until incorporated.
Add the flour and mix on low speed until just combined. Add the candied orange peel and chopped figs, and mix until combined.
Transfer the dough to a workspace and form the dough into a 12 in [30.5 cm] long log. Place the log on a large piece of plastic, a few inches longer than the log. Sprinkle the sanding sugar over each side of the log, covering the outside of the dough. Gently press the sugar into the dough with your hands. Wrap the log in the plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F [180°C]. Line three sheet pans with parchment paper.
Slice the chilled log into ¼ in [6 mm] thick rounds. Space the rounds about 2 in [5 cm] apart on the sheet pans.
Bake one pan at a time, rotating halfway through baking. Bake until the edges are very light golden brown but the centers are still pale, 14 to 16 minutes.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cookies cool completely on the pan. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.