There’s a surprise inside these espresso cookies, a fig filling inside tender dough. One bite of a hamantashen cookie will hook coffee lovers with our variation recipe for hamantashen below to be enjoyed on Tu B’Shevat and beyond.
Tu B’Shevat: Planting & Eating
The Jewish, Hebrew calendar is blessed with many holidays including what I call the “thank you” holidays, when we take the time to give thanks to the wonders around us, such as Tu B’shevat. The term Tu B’shevat refers to the 15th day (Tu) of the month of Shevat and is the day to celebrate and give thanks to mother earth and her offerings.
Now, I am not saying that there is no food involved because there absolutely is. But on this day we first plant trees, pick the first fruits of the season, and donate a portion of it to the less fortunate. And at the end of day, after we washed the dirt off our hands, we sit together to taste and bless the wonderfully sweet and delicious fruits and nuts mother nature has blessed us with.
No need for fancy recipes or elaborate cakes. I guess when you sit with a song of “thank you” at heart, food tastes even better. I remember a table full of dried fruits, nuts and simple homemade cookies filled with different fruit filling. It was such a fun moment to bite into a cookie and let the mystery of the fruit flavors unveil. This was the inspiration for fig-filled espresso cookies.
But if I am completely honest, when it comes to dried figs, to this day, my favorite way of enjoying this miracle of a fruit is as a simple snack. I simply love the unique texture of them—like having a conversation with mother earth herself and thanking her for that delicious, wonderful treat.
Catch the Buzz on Figs & Coffee
For the pocket variation or hamantashen cookies, try Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Dried Mission Figs for deep, familiar flavor orDried Golden Figs for a more delicate, nutty sweetness.
For the coffee, use a kind you like to drink. Coffee brings out the fig’s flavors without overpowering the overall flavor of the espresso cookies. In terms of adding espresso to the cookie dough, it creates a beautiful light tan color in the cookie dough. If you are not a coffee drinker, feel free to skip the coffee altogether and substitute water for the brewed coffee in the fig filling and omit the espresso powder in the dough recipe for hamantashen.
Variation: Recipe for Hamantashen
A hamantashen cookie is a shortcake-style cookie shaped as a triangle and eaten during the Jewish holiday, Purim. The name refers to Haman, who planned to destroy the Jewish people back in Persia. The cookie is shaped like his triangle hat. If you wanted to make a variety of fig hamantashen, also check out our chocolate-dipped orange fig hamantashen cookie.
Planning to Prep Ahead?
These espresso cookies don’t require chilling time and can easily be made in one go-round baking session. If you are wanting to prep ahead, you can make the dough for the pocket or hamantashen cookie recipe one day in advance to be kept sealed in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to roll and bake, remove the cookie dough and allow it to reach room temperature.
The fig paste can be made up to two weeks in advance, stored in a covered container in the refrigerator to use in the recipe for hamantashen or pocket cookies. Any extra fig paste can be used as a cake filling or as jam.
Storing the Espresso Cookies
The cookies will stay fresh for up to 7 days in a tightly sealed container or cookie jar. You can also freeze them for up to 2 months.
Fig Espresso Cookies + a Recipe for Hamantashen Cookies
- 8 ounces (227g) Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Mission Dried Figs
- 3/4 cup (280ml) brewed coffee
- 1/4 cup (70g / 2.4oz) light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 cups (360g / 12oz) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (203g / 7oz) sugar
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
- 8 ounces (227g) unsalted butter , softened to room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 large egg whites , to brush the sides of the dough
Make the Fig Filling
- Cut the figs into 3 to 4 pieces each and place in a medium sized pan.
- In a saucepan, bring the sugar, cinnamon and brewed coffee to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally and cook until the liquid has mostly evaporated. Remove from the heat and process in a food processor until a thick paste is formed.
Make the Cookie Dough
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, espresso powder, and baking powder and stir to incorporate. Add the butter, eggs, egg yolks, and water and mix the ingredients (you can use your hands or a stand mixer) until a soft dough forms. Divide the dough to two equal portions.
- Chill the dough for 20 – 30 minutes to firm up slightly.
- Preheat oven to 350F and line two cookie sheet pans with parchment.
- On top of a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness and use a 2.5-inch round cookie cutter to cut circles.
- Use a small brush (or your finger) to brush the edges of the circles with the reserved egg whites.
- Place 1 teaspoon of fig filling on one side of the circle, then fold the other side on top. Gently seal the edges with your finger. Place on the baking sheet, leaving 1 inch between cookies.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies no longer seem shiny and the edges are a light golden brown.
- Remove from the oven, allow to cool. Then dust with powdered sugar and store in a cookie jar or a sealed container.
VARIATION: Make Them into Hamantashen
- Skip step 5 above. Instead: place the filling at the center of the cut circle shaped dough, and brush with egg whites. Use your pointer fingers to lift the side of the cookie dough and pinch where it meets halfway to the center. Repeat with the other sides until you have a triangle shaped cookie.
- Bake as directed above.