Make up to five dozen Italian fig cookies using a simple recipe. For the dough, cream sugar and shortening. Then, add 6 eggs, 2 tablespoons vanilla extract and 1 pinch salt. Blend 8 cups all-purpose flour and 7 teaspoons baking powder by hand. Knead the dough until smooth and workable, and then add 2 cups whole milk to reach a workable consistency.
For the filling, cut up 4 pounds dried figs, 1 small apple and 1 whole orange with its peel into small pieces. Add in 1 pound of raisins before grinding. Add up to 1 cup water if the mixture is too thick. Add 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans into the mixture, and combine by kneading.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Roll out the dough, and put the fig mixture in a line before wrapping the dough over the mixture. Seal the fig mixture inside the dough. In a diagonal cut, trim to the desired length, and make small diagonal slits on the sides of the cookies. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes on a nongreased cookie sheet.
You can make the fig cookies in stages due to the nature of the work involved. Make the dough first before preparing the figs a few days later. The cookies themselves also keep well while refrigerated. Try them with some coffee.