This classic New Orleans recipe and many more are included in our Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook, available at the CCFM and here.
To prepare Filling: Use a food grinder to grind figs, dates, mixed fruit, pecans, raisins, and orange together. (I use the grinder attachment of my stand mixer, periodically putting a piece of the fresh orange through to keep it from jamming.) Mix well and refrigerate until ready to use. (See Note.)
To prepare Dough: Combine butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl; cream with an electric mixer. (It will take approximately 5 to 10 minutes until sugar is completely dissolved.)
In another bowl, combine eggs, milk, and almond extract; mix well. Fold egg mixture into creamed mixture and beat for approximately 5 minutes.
In another bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Gradually add flour mixture to creamed mixture until dough is the consistency of putty; mix well. Roll dough into a large ball and cover with a towel. Let dough rest for 5 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Break off a piece of dough about the size of a baseball. On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to form the dough into a roll about one foot long and the diameter of a broomstick. Press the roll to flatten it. Spoon filling in the center of the flattened roll, then pull the edges of the dough together over the filling and pinch to seal. Gently roll again.
Cut roll diagonally into cookies 1-1/2 inches long. Place cookies seam-side down on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Check to make sure cookies are cooked through. Cookies may be iced when cool.
To prepare Icing: Combine sugar and cream in a bowl; mix well. Add food coloring if desired. Frost the top of the cookies using a brush or your fingers. Sprinkle with colored sugar if desired.
Note: Prepare the filling one day or so before making the cookies. You can also add orange marmalade, almonds, or dried cherries to the filling.
Makes 4 dozen cookies
Recipe compliments of Poppy Tooker
Market Umbrella is an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3), based in New Orleans, whose mission is to cultivate the field of public markets for public good. Market Umbrella has operated the Crescent City Farmers Markets (CCFM) since 1995.
The Crescent City Farmers Market operates weekly year-round in four New Orleans neighborhoods. The CCFM hosts nearly 80 local small farmers, fishers and food producers, and more than 100,000 shoppers annually.