Thursday, December 4

It Doesn't Get Better Than Baking With Mom

filled cookies

The only thing better than baking Christmas cookies is baking them with my mom. She never fails to teach me something new, and she never fails to make me laugh as we chop and roll and glaze and sprinkle.

So when she visited over the Thanksgiving weekend, we went on a baking frenzy that included Italian almond biscotti, lemon egg biscuits, peanut butter fudge, and this oldie but goodie -- Mom's Filled Cookies.

Mom's Filled Cookies are a sticky, sweet mixture of prunes, cherries, and nuts that are baked inside of a soft, sweet dough. They remind me of mincemeat pies (which I have never liked since the name invariably evokes images of beef to me; not exactly what I want on my Christmas cookie tray.)

My mom has been baking these cookies for over 30 years and is excited to share them with you as her entry for my Eat Christmas Cookies, Season 2 event, which is running through December 21st.

Here are some pics and tips that will help you if you decide to make them this year, which I highly recommend you do.

making filled cookies

Mom says, "This is a sticky sweet dough, so it's easier to work with when it's chilled. Also, be sure to roll it on a well-floured surface. And when you add the filling, just place it down the center of the dough because you don't want to overfill it." Then you will moisten the edges of the dough and fold them up to form a loaf.

filled cookie loaf

Once you form the loaf, it will be turned upside-down, so that the seam in on the bottom, as shown above. Then you will brush it with an egg wash.

baked filled cookie loaves

The egg wash gives the loaves that appealingly shiny texture. Note that the dough will form little cracks, as shown above. That's fine. Just allow them to cool completely before slicing.

It's best to use a serrated knife and gently saw back-and-forth to cut the slices. If you're planning on adding these to a Christmas cookie tray, then place them inside paper or foil baking cups so the filling doesn't stick to the other cookies!

Mom's Filled Cookies
Makes 84 slices
Print recipe only here.

3 pounds of prunes, chopped
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups maraschino cherries, halved with 1 cup of the juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup lightly toasted walnuts, chopped

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add prunes and cherry juice. Cook until prunes are softened, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the cherries, vanilla, and walnuts. Stir until well combined. Cool completely and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight. The longer it chills, the thicker the filling will become.

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup canola oil
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Position oven racks in the top and lower thirds of the oven. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl hand mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

In a small bowl mix milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk well and add to the flour mixture.

Start mixing the dough with a large rubber spatula. Once dough begins to form, use lightly floured hands to gently knead dough until smooth. Form the dough into a ball and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour, since chilled dough is easier to work with.

Place dough on a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Using a rolling pin, gently roll into a rectangle that is approximately 9 inches long by 5 inches wide. Place prune filling in a straight line down the middle of the dough. Using a pastry brush, dampen the edges of the dough with water. Turn the ends of the dough up over the fruit, then fold the sides over and press with your hands to adhere. This dough is delicate, so if it tears or some filling pops through, simply patch it with a an extra piece of dough. Flip the loaf over so that the seam is on the bottom. Using the palms of your hands, pat gently pat the loaf on both sides and on both ends, which helps make the loaf higher; finished loaves will be approximately 6-6 1/2 inches long. Place loaf on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush thoroughly with egg wash.

Bake for about 40 minutes, rotating pans mid-way through. Loaves should be shiny and golden. Allow to cool completely before slicing. Each loaf yields 7 slices.

You might also like these other sweet treats from Mom:

Mom's Chocolate Pudding with Bananas and Graham Crackers


Italian Pignoli (Pine Nut) Cookies

Hello Dolly Cookie Bars

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Happy cook said...

Oh you posted this a bit late, i just mixed a dough and kept to chill in the fridge as my hubby was saying i should make some cookie with filling and i got a recipe from a magazine.
These cookies look fabulous. The way you wrote how it is filles with prunes etc itself sounds delicious.
This i have to keep for next year :-)

Stacey Snacks said...

This is almost like rugelach, well not really, but sort of.
Nice that you spent time baking w/ your mom.

Maybe next year for your annual cookie post, I will make these!
Stacey Snacks

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Wow, what a marvelous recipe! Those filled cookies look incredibly good!



Rosie said...

This is one gorgeous recipe! It was lovely to read you were able to spend time baking with your mum :)

Rosie x

Ivy said...

The cookies are great and thanks for sharing all the tips your mum gave you.

Manggy said...

Oh oh oh! It's like a really fat fig newton, except filled with stuff I love and not the weird fig things! :D`` Yum! I can't wait to see the rest of Mom+Susan's bakes ;)

Maria said...

It is so much fun to bake with someone else. I am glad my husband enjoys being in the kitchen. We have a ton of fun. Your mom's cookies look wonderful!

glamah16 said...

Those cookies llok fantastic. What a wonderful rich hoilday treat!

Bellini Valli said...

These filled cookies are what memories are made of Susan. Can you beleive I haven't even started to do any Christmas baking so that is why I haven't sent any recipes your way...yet:D

Karen said...

These sound (and look!) so good. Susan - try mincemeat once again! I never used to like it but now it's one of my favorites! Do what I do... don't call it mince'meat'... just call it "mince pie" :)

Simona said...

Beautiful cookies! I hope to be able to send you something for your event.

Lisa said...

Very nice. They kind of remind me of cookie strombolis:)

Michelle said...

Mincemeat does sound awful. I like these--they remind me of fig newtons as well. I never get to bake with my mom any more and it's shame because she's so much better than i am. We make the same repertoire of cookies every year in our family, the same kind my grandma would make. Now of course I am thinking, should I use spelt flour instead? Agave? Healthy these suckers up a bit? Sigh...

sunita said...

Those filled cookies look so good, Susan :-)

Peter G said...

Way better than mince meat pies! I too have issues with the name. This one's a real winner Susan!

Heather said...

mmmm those look good! Cooking with Moms is always fun :)

ps - glad you enjoyed the bergers :) they're always best on a bad day!

Anonymous said...

What a sweet story. Most of the time my mom sits at the kitchen island and chats about the latest gossip going around the town.

Rita said...

Those look nice, not your regular cookie.
My mom had never baked anything, believe it or not! Not even a siple cake....

We Are Not Martha said...

I love baking cookies with my mom too :) These ones look fabulous...might have to add them in this year!


Bharti said...

Such a sweet post! I love baking/cooking with my mom too as does my daughter with her mom. The cookies look lovely.

Aparna said...

True, nothing quite like it.
I made some cookies like these sometime back, but filled them with dates. :)

nicisme said...

How wonderful! I would like one of those hot with some custard, mmmm...

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan!

What a wonderful treat to bake with your mom, does she travel to other families within RI? We have a basement to assemble the cookie trays in...

Oh, and here's a request (because I'm sure you have loads of time, this time of year). How about the recipe for your Mom's Lemon Egg Biscuits (or could you point me to it)? I know plenty of recipes exist online for them, but I would love to have you family's because I know it will be good (and authentic Italian RI) Thanks for sharing your recipes and happy holidays!

Chris in RI

Chris is RI

Susan from Food Blogga said...

happycook-Darn. At least you'll have this for next year. :)

stacey-That sounds like a plan. :)

rosa-They taste incredibly good too. :)

rosie-It was so much fun.

ivy-My pleasure!

mark-You're so sweet. Thank you.

maria-That is so wonderful that you bake with your husband.

glamah16-We only make them at xmas time, so they are special.

val-No worries. "Mince pie." I'll have to remember that. ;)

karen-That's what I'll do! Thanks.

simona-That would be lovely.

lisa-Cookie strombolis? Mmm....

michelle-We make mostly family cookies too. But then again, that's what makes them special, right? I think my mom would freak out if I said, "Let's try agave nectar in our cookies this year." ;)


peter-I'm so glad you like them.

heather-You can say that again. :)

cory-That's fun too!

rita-No baking? Egads! You had better start the tradition then! :)

wanm-They're really good.

bharti-It's a special tradition, isn't it?

aparna-Oh, I love anything with dates. :)

nic-Hot with some custard? Oh, my, so would I!

chris-Hey fellow Rhodie! I'm so glad you found me. I'd be happy to share the recipe for the lemon egg biscuits. Just email me at foodblogga {at} yahoo {dot} com.
I'm going to be writing an article about xmas cookies for NPR's Kitchen Window, which we be published in a couple of weeks. It will include the egg biscuits, so check it out!

Grace said...

my first thought was that they're reminiscent of a fig newton, but clearly about 187 times better. and your title speaks the truth. :)

ChichaJo said...

I don't know if I could keep from eating all the filling before while making those cookies!

Anonymous said...

You brought up such good memories for me with these cookies, Susan! My grandma called these "Fruit Dreams" and I save a newspaper clipping of her holding a plate of these in her hands. They are very very Italian and although I disliked them as a kid, I now appreciate them with my whole heart. Thanks :)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Oh Susan I know I shouldn't but I know my Gorn will absolutely love these!
You are so lucky to have your mom to bake with.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Those are really beautiful.

I have to think of doing Christmas cookies myself soon. I have a lot of sweet gifts I want to give as thank yous to people in my life who have helped me throughout the year. I plan to do what I did over the summer and get my recipes from the blogs because I always find the best recipes in the blogsphere.

Arfi Binsted said...

I assume that everybody is into cooking for Christmas now. How lovely to think about getting together as a family and doing things in the kitchen in preparation of big gathering day. I always love the image of it.

Jeanne said...

What wonderful cookies! And it reminde me of how my mom and I used to schedule a day of baking together in the run-up to Christmas every year. I really miss our bake-ins.

By the way, there is something for you on my blog:

silverdot said...

I love baking with my Mom. That brings back wonderful memories. The recipes sound great.

Foodista Fan said...

Just like Rita my mom never baked anything, but she liked to cook. My 9yo son however likes to help out when I try to bake him cookies :)We will definitely try this recipe.
If you have time do drop by at Foodista ? We are building an online food and cooking encyclopedia ala wikipedia

Thanks for sharing!

Peter M said...

My mom has been my greatest influence in the kitchen and it's no coincidence the best recipes are mom's - like these jammy goodies.

Snooky doodle said...

these look nice and yummy. surely better than the traditional mince pies :)

linda said...

Delicious, love the filling!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

You are so lucky -- I don't remember my mother ever baking a single thing (and no doubt this is where my own distaste for baking comes from)!

michelle of bleeding espresso said...

Your mom and my mom would be *so* dangerous together. YUM!

Mandy said...

lucky you! The cookies look absolutely delicious. I just wish I am your mom's neighbor.

Jaime said...

i love baking w/my mom too :)

those look scrumptious...i love anything with fruit filling :)

btw - the last photo in the post is not appearing...

Anonymous said...

I made this with leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving (that's mostly applesauce with pecans) it was very good with the cranberry, too.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

grace-May even 188. ;)

joey-It isn't easy.;)

maryann-You do appreciate them as you get older. I love that you have the newspaper clipping. That is so special.

tanna-I am lucky.

sdoc-You're so right. The variety is endless.

arfi-It's better than any material gift you could give.

jeanne-I know what you mean. It's the together time that is so special.

silverdot-I'm so glad to hear that.

ffan-I hope you like it then! I will definitely check it out.

peterm-Moms and grandmoms are the best.:)

sd-Surely. :)


lydia-None? Oh. :(

michelle-I know they would! ;)

mandy-Lots of people do. :)

jaime-Fruity filling gets my vote too. Thanks!

anonymous-I'm so happy you liked it. And using leftover cranberry sauce was a great idea. I'll have to remember that.

ejm said...

I waltzed over here from Tanna's site and wandered around a tiny bit to see that you are doing the Eat Christmas Cookies event again. STOP IT!! These filled cookies look fantastic. I will just have to imagine eating them though - I daren't add yet another kind of cookie to our cookie tin.