pine nut shortbread cookies with figs, goat cheese spread, and balsamic glaze

Posted by on Sep 13, 2013 in uncategorized | 15 comments

figs, pine nuts, goat cheese, balsamic

Can I just make this post into one of those “educational” posts where I share several interesting facts about a certain topic? You know…those extremely crucial facts that I pretend to have created and founded myself after an extended time of research, but that you may have very well googled and found for yourself after typing one or two simple words into google?

figs, pine nuts, goat cheese, balsamic

Can I just make this post into one of those where I pretend to have always been truly knowledgeable about the subject matter? You know…one of those posts where I share critically important information that I pretend to have acquired years ago, in my extensive culinary and pastry academic work, but that I really just discovered a few days ago while surfing the internet just like you are right now?

In other words, can we make this into one of those posts where I pretend to know what the hell I’m talking about?

figs, pine nuts, goat cheese, balsamic

Okay, great. We can now proceed. Let’s talk about figs then. Please allow me to share with you some quick facts that I just learned about myself. It may make you view this underestimated fruit in a different light.

figs, pine nuts, goat cheese, balsamic

Figs are wonderful. They really are. This much I discovered at a very young age, when I took recent trips to my back yard in the house I grew up in southern Spain. There was a fig tree there that gave deliciously sweet delights. It stood so powerfully over the dried soil and I remember it possessing a strong presence; more than any of the other trees in my back yard.

figs, pine nuts, goat cheese, balsamic

figs, pine nuts, goat cheese, balsamic

But why else do I hold so much respect for figs, aside from their delicately sweet and unique taste? Figs are full of health benefits. Here are are some reasons why figs basically rule:

Figs are a high source of potassium which helps lower blood pressure. Figs are also high in dietary fiber, which helps with weight loss but more importantly, studies show that fibrous fruits such as figs, help reduce breast cancer by 34% in postmenopausal women. Figs are also known to improve cardio vascular disease by lowering triglycerides in the blood stream. But this is not all. No way. Figs are also a great fruit source of calcium, which as you may know, is a mineral that has many functions, one of them being bone density. Even fig leaves have benefits! I’m not sure if you think of the leaves as edible parts, but in some cultures, fig leaves are a common part of the menu and this is beneficial to reduce insulin levels in the bloodstream.

figs, pine nuts, goat cheese, balsamic

So, why not do your health and taste buds a generous favor? Why not enjoy all the greatness that this fruit has to offer on its own? Why not take it even a step further and make these delicious Pine Nut Shortbread Cookies with Figs, Goat Cheese Spread, and Balsamic Glaze?

Why the heck not?

figs, pine nuts, goat cheese, balsamic

Pine Nut Shortbread Cookies with Figs, Goat Cheese Spread, and Balsamic Glaze
 
Serves: 26
Ingredients
  • Pine Nut Shortbread Cookies:
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 4 oz butter, softened (1/2 cup)
  • 2 oz sugar (1/4 cup)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 oz all-purpose flour (1 ¼ cups)
  • small pinch of salt
  • Goat Cheese Spread:
  • 4 oz goat cheese (1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Balsamic Glaze:
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Pine Nut Shortbread Cookies with Figs, Goat Cheese Spread, and Balsamic Glaze:
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • pine nut shortbread cookie dough, chilled
  • goat cheese spread
  • about 7-8 figs, washed, dried, and thinly sliced
  • balsamic glaze
Instructions
  1. Pine Nut Shortbread Cookies:
  2. 1. Place pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until they’re finely ground.
  3. 2. Combine butter, sugar, vanilla extract in a bowl and mix with a paddle attachment or a hand-held mixer on medium-high speed until butter is smooth, light, and fluffy. Turn mixer off and scrape sides of bowl.
  4. 3. Change speed on mixer to low and add flour and salt. Continue mixing until dry ingredients are mixed well.
  5. 4. Add ground pine nuts and continue to mix on low speed until they’re folded into the dough.
  6. 5. Flatten cookie dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 20-30 minutes before rolling and baking.
  7. Goat Cheese Spread:
  8. 1. Combine goat cheese, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract in a bowl. Using an electric hand mixer, mix on medium-high speed until mixture becomes smooth and spreadable.
  9. Balsamic Glaze:
  10. 1. Add balsamic vinegar to a medium-sized saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low once it comes to a simmer.
  11. 2. At this point, add sugar and stir occasionally to maintain a gentle simmer all throughout the cooking time. Continue cooking vinegar on low heat and stirring until vinegar is thick, has the consistency of syrup, and its volume has reduced by ⅔-3/4, about 30 minutes or so. Allow it to come to room temperature before use.
  12. Pine Nut Shortbread Cookies with Figs, Goat Cheese Spread, and Balsamic Glaze:
  13. 1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Place pine nuts on a baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until they become evenly golden-brown, about 8-12 minutes.
  14. 2. Meanwhile, grease and cover two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set them aside. Unwrap pine nut cookie dough and cut it in half. Work one half of the cookie dough with your hands until it’s pliable, but not so much that it becomes too soft and warm. Sprinkle flour over working surface and place dough over it. Roll cookie dough to ¼”-1/8” of thickness, sprinkling additional flour as needed and turning dough 90 degrees after each time it’s rolled so that it doesn’t become stuck to surface. (An offset spatula or a bench scraper are tools that will allow you to do this easily).
  15. 3. Make cutout cookies by pressing a medium-sized fluted cutter into the rolled dough. Place the cut out pieces on prepared baking sheets. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes so that cookie dough becomes chilled. Repeat steps 2 and 3 with the second half of dough.
  16. 4. Bake cookies at 350 F for about 8-10 minutes. Place baking sheets on a cooling rack and allow cookies to cool down completely.
  17. 5. When cookies have cooled down, use a butter knife to spread some of the goat cheese spread on them. Place a few thin slices of figs over goat cheese spread and drizzle balsamic glaze over them. Finish with a few toasted pine nuts.
Notes
Cookie dough can be rolled out two to three times (depending on the specific kind of dough it is), so you may collect dough scraps after the first roll, pile them together, and roll them again to increase cookie yield.

If rolling out the dough seems like a tedious step and/or if you don’t have a rolling pin or cookie cutters, you could also shape the cookie dough into a log that’s about 1 ½” in diameter, freeze it until it becomes chilled and hard, and then cut the cookie log into thin slices. You can then place the sliced cookies onto a baking sheet that has been covered with parchment paper and bake them off.

The pine nut shortbread cookies taste lovely with ¼ cup of ground pine nuts, although their pine nut flavor is subtle. The pine nut flavor is stronger when using ½ cup of ground pine nuts instead. It’s up to you what quantity you want to use because the pine nut flavor comes through either way with the additional toasted pine nuts that’s used to finish them at the end.

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15 Comments

  1. How beautiful! Hello from a fellow Rota alumni. :) Your blog is beautiful and professional-looking. I love the idea of pine nut shortbread, and my fam loves figs. Over here in the Azores, we get green-skinned ones mostly, which should be coming on right about now. Bookmarking this!

    • Hi Michelle! It’s always so nice to hear from fellow DGF-ers! Thank you so much for checking out my dessert blog. I had no idea you were living in the Azores…It must be so beautiful there! If you end up making this recipe and rolling out the dough seems like a tedious step to you, you could also shape the cookie dough into a thick log, freeze it until it becomes chilled and hard, and then cut the cookie log into thin slices. You can then place the sliced cookies on a baking sheet that has been covered with parchment paper and bake them off! That’s another way to make the shortbread cookie part if you don’t have a rolling pin or if you’re not so much into rolling dough.

      • Thanks! Yeah, I always try to get out of rolling out dough if I have to! Although the scalloped edges are nice (not sure if I own that cookie cutter though). I’ll probably go that way. I love slice and bake recipes! Yes, it is beautiful here. A lot farther away from Spain than I originally thought, though! It’s very green here. This will be our last year here as the DoDDS school is closing here. (My husband teaches.)

  2. Scrumptious!

  3. Oh, my, wow. These look AMAZING!

  4. You sure don’t have to convince me, Vane – I freaking love figs! If only they weren’t so expensive, I’d eat a lot more of them. These photos are gorgeous and I’m loving the shortbread cookie/fig/balsamic combo.

    • Thanks Nancy! I freaking love figs too! Obviously, right? Hahaha.

  5. Yum yum yum! Sold out to this gorgeous and delicious dessert. Thanks for sharing :)

  6. Omg your photos are gorgeous! And I love this recipe… some of my favorite flavors all rolled into one delicious bite! So happy to have met you this afternoon at IFBC. :)

    • Hi Allie! I’m so happy that you have stopped by! It’s so nice to have met you at IFBC this past weekend. :)

  7. These are perfection! I am a sucker for figs and goat cheese together in any form, but to put it on a shortbread cookie is pure genius. Love this so much and love your beautiful blog! Excited to keep following you :)

    • Hello and thank you so much for stopping by and visiting my blog! Yes, I don’t think you can go wrong with goat cheese, figs, and pine nut short bread cookies!

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