Disabling My Cookies

I well may be at the beginning of the end of my wits. And it is being brought on by my holiday cookie making affair.

After just congratulating myself on whipping up the doughs and fillings yesterday so that all I would have to do is bake…all hell broke lose.

My recipes are the same recipes I’ve done in years gone by, except for these raisin/ginger affairs. My repertoire includes:

Fig and date anise cookies

Spoon cookies

Mexican tea cakes

And I can’t remember the others. Really. I’m so upset that if it wasn’t 12:30 p.m. I would be drinking. Heavily.

So, the fig/date cookies have a dough that must be refrigerated. And so do the newbies, raisin/ginger filled wonders. And so do the Mexican tea cakes. And I had the presence of mind to fold the printed out recipes and place them on each dough…except for one or two.

So, I first made the filling for the raisin cookies because I got tired and didn’t do it yesterday and all it requires is a bit of cooking and cooling. No problem. And then I started working on the fig/date cookies. Rolled them out. Laid the fig and date mixture on top of each sheet and rolled them up and drowned them in glazing sugar and put them back in the refrigerator a another 6 hour rest.

Then I started on the raisin stuffed cookies. OMG. The dough was acting weird. Did I use the wrong dough? Who knows? I sure as heck don’t know but I had nothing but misery trying to roll the dough, dress it with an egg wash, place the raisin mixture on it and then roll the other and place it on top of the first. The dough stuck to the wax paper. It got gooey. It misbehaved. It stuck to the biscuit cutter I was using. The cookies look like… Well, you fill in the blank. But what is a cook to do? I was committed. Right dough or wrong dough, these cookies were going to end up being whatever they were…which at this point, I have no idea what they are.

I pushed them into the awaiting 400 degree oven. Then a minute later, I remembered that I forget to give the outsides an egg bath and throw some glazing sugar on them. So, out them came. I finished with that and back in they went. And that is when I crumbled. Just like a cookie.

If you think you would like to recreate my trauma, listed below are the recipes for my favorite cookies. I omitted the one stuffed with raisins. I won’t be returning to that cookie again. The other’s I can highly recommend. Although, it will be interesting to see if the fig/date cookies come out right since that was the dough that might inadvertently gotten mixed up. OMG.


Mexican Tea Cakes


  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar (not all at once)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup very finely chopped pecans (2 1/2 oz)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Beat together butter and 1/2 cup confectioners sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at moderately high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in vanilla, then add flour, pecans that have been pulverized in a food processor, and salt and mix at low speed until just combined. Chill, covered, at least 6 hours.  If you don’t have a food processor or a blender, don’t try this recipe.  It would be too hard.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Let dough stand at room temperature until just pliable, about 15 minutes. Roll level teaspoons of dough into 3/4-inch balls and arrange about 2 inches apart on lightly buttered large baking sheets.

Sift remaining 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar into a large shallow bowl.

Bake in batches in middle of oven until bottoms are pale golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately transfer hot cookies to confectioners sugar, gently rolling to coat well, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Roll cookies in confectioners sugar again when cooled.

cooks’ note:· Cookies keep in an airtight container at room temperature 3 weeks.

Spoon Cookies because they are made with a spoon!!


  • 2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt, slightly rounded
  • 1/3 cup fruit preserves (your choice but I favor raspberry for the holidays)


Make dough:
Fill kitchen sink or large heat resistant container with about 2 inches of cold water. Melt butter in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan (with a light bottom so that you can observe) over moderate heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until butter turns golden with a nutlike fragrance and flecks on bottom of pan turn a rich caramel brown, 10 to 12 minutes. (Butter will initially foam, then dissipate. A thicker foam will appear and cover the surface just before butter begins to brown; stir more frequently toward end of cooking.) Place pan in sink or container to stop cooking, then cool, stirring frequently, until butter starts to look opaque, about 4 minutes. Remove pan and stir in sugar and vanilla.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and stir into butter mixture until a dough forms. Shape into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap, and let stand at cool room temperature 1 to 2 hours (to allow flavors to develop).

Form and bake cookies:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 325°F.

Press a piece of dough into bowl of teaspoon, flattening top, then slide out and place, flat side down, on an ungreased baking sheet. (Dough will feel crumbly, but will become cohesive when pressed.) Continue forming cookies and arranging on sheet. Bake cookies until just pale golden, 8 to 15 minutes. Cool cookies on sheet on a rack 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to rack and cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Assemble cookies:
While cookies cool, heat preserves in a small saucepan over low heat until just runny, then pour through a sieve into a small bowl, pressing hard on solids, and cool completely.

Spread the flat side of a cookie with a thin layer of preserves. Sandwich with flat side of another cookie. Continue with remaining cookies and preserves, then let stand until set, about 45 minutes. Transfer cookies to an airtight container and wait 2 days before eating.  And good luck keeping your hands off them.  They are addictive as well!!

And finally, my fig/date cookies.  Some people don’t care for figs or dates.  If you don’t, don’t bother.  If you do, you should make these a priority.  They are delicious.

Fig and Date Cookies


  • 1 cup packed soft dried figs (8 oz), stemmed 
  • 1 cup packed pitted dates (7 oz), trimmed 
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons anise seeds, ground in an electric coffee/spice grinder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup granulated raw sugar such as turbinado or Demerara
 Directions:Purée figs and dates with water and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in a blender or food processor until almost smooth.

Whisk together flour, anise, baking powder and soda, and salt in a bowl. Beat together butter, cream cheese, and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at moderate speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla and yolk until combined well. Add flour mixture and mix at low speed until just combined.

Halve dough and form each half into a rectangle. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, about 1 hour.

Roll out 1 piece of dough between 2 sheets of wax paper into a 9- by 7-inch rectangle, about 1/3 inch thick. Remove top sheet of wax paper and drop half of fig mixture by spoonfuls onto dough, then gently spread in an even layer, leaving a 1/4-inch border around edges. Starting with a long side and using wax paper as an aid, roll up dough jelly-roll style into a log. Roll log in raw sugar to coat completely. Make another log in same manner. Chill logs, wrapped in wax paper, until firm, at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut logs crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices and arrange slices about 2 inches apart on lightly buttered baking sheets. Bake in batches in middle of oven until pale golden, 15 to 17 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool.


Now that I have all that off my chest, I guess I will re-heat the oven and proceed with the rest of the baking.  Happy Holidays to you and yours!!








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