Read more about these delightful cookies in Sandy’s story, "Opening and Closing Ceremonies." Makes 20 cookies.
1 cup (5 ounces) dried Mission figs, stem removed and cut in ½-inch pieces
½ cup (2 ounces) dried tart cherries, chopped in ¼-inch pieces
Zest of 1 orange
¼ cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup dry Marsala
1 teaspoon honey
⅜ teaspoon ground anise seed
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup (2½ ounces) toasted and salted almonds, chopped small
Place all of the ingredients except the almonds in a sauté pan. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring until dry. Remove to a bowl to cool in the refrigerator. Mix in the nuts and refrigerate.
The Dough, Glaze and Finishing the Cookies
12 tablespoons (6 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 ½ sticks (6 ounces) salted butter, softened
1½ cups (6 ounces) all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons dry Marsala
1 small bottle of decorative sprinkles
In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese (scrape down the beater once or twice) until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add butter and cream until smooth, 1–2 minutes, scrape and add the flour to just mix in—do not overmix.
Form dough into a 1-inch-thick square. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour, until solid.
Heat oven to 375°F.
Using the sugar to dust the top and bottom, roll out the dough in a 9- x 20-inch by ¼-inch-thick rectangle. Cut the dough into 2 (4½-inch x 20-inch) strips. Mold the filling in your hands like clay and form a ½-inch strip of filling down the middle of each of the dough strips. Mix the egg yolk and cream together and brush 1 side of the exposed dough on each strip. Bring the other exposed part of the dough over the top of the filling to meet up with the egg-washed side and press down lightly to seal. Brush the remaining egg wash over the tops.
Cut each strip into 10 (2-inch) cookies and make a cut through the filling side of each cookie top to bottom in the middle of the cookie, leaving the dough part intact. Open slightly to form a slight V-shape (see picture below).
Place the cookies 1-inch apart on a parchment- or Silpat-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden. Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and Marsala until smooth. Brush on the warm cookies as they come out of the oven and, while glaze is still wet, scatter with sprinkles.