These cookies make me smile and giggle a bit because they represent the marriage of two of my childhood favs: the pinwheel and the fig newton. Who doesn't love a good swirl cookie? Such pretty and romantic cookies, and now they're all dolled up for the lactation cookie ball.
The inside is a mixture of dried figs and dried apricots. Figs are a fly-under-the-radar kind of superfruit. Sure, they are ancient and represent male and female reproductive parts and all that fun stuff. But here are a few facts about their nutritional profile you may not have known: Figs have the highest mineral content of ALL fruits. In fact, their mineral profile actually mimics that of human breast milk. Figs also contain Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Whaaat? A crate of figs and a crate of milk contain the same levels of calcium! Their high levels of calcium are suggested to help mamas with lactation.
Like figs, dried apricots are rich in calcium, fiber and Vitamin C, all necessary for a breastfeeding mama's balanced diet. Dried apricots are recommended for lactating mamas because they contain phytoestrogens, hormones associated with milk production. Prolactin is the hormone which signals the body to produce more breast milk. The tryptophan found in dried apricots can increase these prolactin levels. In case that wasn't enough lactogenic goodness, we ramped up the traditional butter cookie dough with ground flax and fennel, making these little swirls the belles of the ball.
Yield: Approx. 3 dozen cookies
Adapted from: Epicurious, Anise-Scented Fig and Date Swirls
1 cup packed soft dried figs, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 cup packed dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-2 teaspoons fennel seeds, ground in an electric coffee/spice grinder
2 Tbsp ground flax
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 sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Pulse figs and apricots with water and 2 tablespoons sugar in a food processor until nearly smooth.
3. Whisk flour, fennel, flax, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Beat together butter, cream cheese, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla and yolk until well-combined. Add flour mixture and mix at low speed until it just comes together.
4. Split dough in halves and form each half into a rectangle. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 1 hour.
5. Roll out the first log between 2 sheets of wax paper into a 9- by 7-inch rectangle, about 1/3 inch thick. Take off the top layer of wax paper and add half of fig mixture onto dough, then smooth it around, creating an even layer with a 1/4-inch border around edges. Starting with a long side, roll up dough into a log. Coat log in sugar. Repeat steps for the other half of dough. Chill logs until firm, at least 4 hours.
6. Slice logs crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick cookies and place about 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake until pale golden, 15 to 17 minutes. Cool on wire racks.