December 7, 2009

When only the best will do: NaCoBakMo, Day 10.

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:06 pm by the Green-Eyed Siren

Up until now, I’ve been content to bake my cookies with regular supermarket brands of all the staples. Meanwhile, I’ve been desperately trying to fit a Costco trip into my days: with all the running to and from the store I’ve been doing, it’s pretty clear that my madness has a price.

But Day 10’s cookie bears no sign of cheaping out, my friends. I purchased the ingredients at Whole Foods, because nothing is too good for you people—only the finest cream cheese from the milk of pampered cows will do. More importantly, Whole Foods carries an intriguing product called FiCoCo, a fig and cocoa spread whose zippy label proved irresistible to me one day as I impulse-shopped my way through a quick $100 (2 whole bags!) of groceries.

The rare occasions when I permit myself to enter Whole Foods are often followed by feelings of remorse and shame due to overspending on exotic foodstuffs, feelings which tend not to be adequately counterbalanced by the combined sense of self-righteousness and upscale glamour such a visit affords. As a result, it is not unusual for me to squirrel away some of the nonperishable goodies in my pantry, where I can look upon them comfortable in the knowledge that when the apocalypse finally arrives I will be prepared with an eclectic array of expensive condiments.

And yet—purchases which appear to be a brilliant idea when strategically displayed among cheeses with names I cannot pronounce and provenances more well researched than the average champion show dog can seem perhaps less inspired when unceremoniously tossed into my pantry’s disarray right next to the canned tomatoes. I have looked at that oh-so-appealing FiCoCo jar frequently, and every time I have wondered, “Um, what the hell do I do with this stuff?”

But, I ask you, how could you not pick it up? Just look at that label, with its perfectly pitched sophisticated whimsy. I want to wallpaper my bathroom with that label. I could stare at it all day.

That gorgeous label leapt out at me anew from my pantry shelves when I was making the decision about Sunday’s cookie. I wanted to use a recipe for a filled cookie in my old church’s cookbook, but the filling noted was pecan-based. (In case you’re just joining us, I’m working to avoid nuts because of Unfocused Junior’s allergies, but that is very challenging in a “28 days of cookies” project.) I wanted something with a quality reminiscent of a pecan pie-type situation, and that happy little jar of FiCoCo just sang out to me. And the result is good. Very good.

The crucial piece of baking advice I have for you with this recipe is that if you overfill the dough cups with your FiCoCo, you will have what the kids today refer to as a Hot Mess. Literally. The shell will rise as it bakes, leaving far less room for the FiCoCo than you expected to have when you were doing the filling part. It will deal you yet another setback from which you must recover, and you will be questioning your intelligence to a degree that is embarrassing for a seemingly experienced baker. Do not do it, my friends. A scant 1/2 teaspoon of filling is plenty. And if, by chance, you do end up with a hot mess, for God’s sake DO NOT LET THE COOKIES COOL TOO LONG or you will be scraping them out with a paring knife for HOURS. Or at least A LONG GODDAMN TIME, and you might well lose a few in the process. Also keep in mind that you will probably need to wash out the muffin tin after every batch because of the FiCoCo spillover. For all their simplicity they are quite time consuming.

Fortunately, they are also really quite nice. Because there is no sugar in the dough, all of the sweetness comes from the FiCoCo, and the balance is ideal. They would be perfect for all those fancy tea parties you host, exhibiting as they do that same whimsical sophistication that the FiCoCo label has in spades.

Seriously, I think this cookie works very well as an addition to an assortment because it’s so easy to become overwhelmed by the sugar rush when the treats are all supersweet. Just don’t get carried away with the FiCoCo awesomeness and you will be fine.

FiCoCo Tassies

12 oz cream cheese
1 1/3 c softened butter
4 c flour
1 jar FiCoCo spread (I needed two, but I’m pretty sure that’s because I overfilled the first two dozen. One should be enough.)

Preheat oven to 350º.

Beat cream cheese and butter until well mixed. Gradually beat in flour.

Place approximately 1 T of dough in each cup of mini muffin tins. Using your fingers, press the dough into the cup evenly. Drop a scant 1/2 t FiCoCo into each indentation. Bake for 17-18 minutes. Cool for not longer than 5 minutes in the muffin tin, then remove to cool on a wire rack. Makes around 5 dozen.

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6 Comments »

  1. harri3tspy said,

    These sound just like my mother-in-law’s legendary kolackys, except differently shaped. She rolls the dough flat, but thick enough to make a dimple for the filling (she uses some kind of Polish pie filling and makes several different flavors, but I’m sure FiCoCo would be delicious) and cuts them out with an oval, serrated cookie cutter. She then makes a dimple for the filling on one end of each cooke. They are delicious and I love that they are not too sweet.

  2. It is definitely just like many kolachy doughs. I plan to make those in a week or so, if I’m still going at that point and not buried under piles of cookies.

  3. Lass said,

    Oh lord, you’re killing me with these pictures. I have cookie lust in a way I don’t think I ever have before (and while you don’t know me well, I can assure you that’s saying something…) Sigh.

  4. Unfocused Me said,

    I’m dying to see what you make while I’m gone.

  5. Jeanne said,

    These do sound good for tea!

  6. chel said,

    I’m glad I’m not the only one with a love-guilt relationship with Whole Foods. In my case we already eat foo foo organic meat because my sister, parents, and I buy by the whole.. cow.. pig… lamb etc and divide it up. This is usually done by local family farmers trying to stay on their land and I’m all about supporting that. So shouldn’t I feed my family organic sides to go with their organic meat….. then I look at the bill and wonder what I was thinking.

    The cookies look wonderful by the way.


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