I’ve been wanting to make these portofignos ever since Dorie’s Cookies was released. It’s not every day that I have part of a bottle of port lying around – that’s the kind of alcohol most likely to get consumed by my friends and family if it happens to be opened. So when I had some friends over and we opened a bottle of port but it didn’t get finished…I was delighted. Time to make these amazing portofignos!
I’ve made this recipe twice now and I want you to know that I’ve modified Dorie’s recipe a little bit because the way I made it the first time I liked even better than the way it was published. The first time I used more port and more figs but fewer walnuts. The first time I also used dark chocolate cocoa powder instead of the “standard” cocoa powder. It’s fine if you don’t have quite as much port as this recipe calls for or quite as many figs, the cookies will still be delicious, they just might not be incredibly decadent. Either way, you and everyone lucky enough to be eating these portofigno cookies will be a winner.
You start by destemming and chopping about a cup of black mission figs, throwing them into a medium saucepan with at least 1/2 cup of port, but preferably 1 1/2 cups of port, bringing the liquid to a slow boil, and simmering the fruit in the port until the liquid has all (or almost all) been absorbed. This takes about 30-60 minutes, depending on how much port you use and how dry your figs are. Keep a casual eye on the pan and set a timer to check on things every 15 minutes or so once the liquid starts to simmer.
Now that the figs have taken a delicious rejuvenating bath in port, you’ll want to set the pan aside and let them cool down to at least room temperature. You can also tuck them in the refrigerator and pick up making the cookie dough later – the soaked fruit will keep several weeks in the fridge in a covered container.
While the port-soaked figs cool, toast your walnuts, chop them, and toss them with a little salt.
The chocolate cookie dough itself is a pretty standard, butter heavy, rolled cookie base dough. Whisk or sift together your dry ingredients. Beat together the butter, sugars, and salt until light and fluffy, then add the vanilla and mix again. Add the flour, gently pulse to combine it, continue stirring until the batter doesn’t quite come together, but looks like it would with a few more repetitions. Add the chopped port-soaked figs and walnuts, and pulse gently to combine.
Dump the dough out onto a clean work surface or a cutting board. Divide the dough into two halves and shape each into a log with a length of about 12-inches. Refrigerate or freeze the dough for at least 3 hours.
Rich and chocolatey, stuffed with salty toasted walnut pieces and jammy figs, these are a very adult cookie. Honestly, these portofignos are one of my favorites cookies of all time.
Modified somewhat from Dorie’s Cookies
Don't let the lengthy instructions turn you away from these cookies. They only look long because you soak the fruit in the liquor and you need to roll/chill/cut the cookie dough.
Regardless of your oven, Dorie promises 14 minutes is the perfect amount of time for these cookies. No more, no less. I've only tested the theory in two ovens, but it seems sound.
- 7-8 ounces (225 grams; about 30) dried figs, preferably Black Mission stems trimmed, snipped into small pieces
- 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) ruby port *
- 3/4 cup (90 grams) walnuts finely chopped
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt divided
- 1 5/6 cup (255 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (43 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 sticks (6 ounces; 226 grams) unsalted butter cut into chunks, at room temperature
- 1 cup (200 grams) packed light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Stir the figs and port together in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, stirring, until the liquid is absorbed. 1 to 2 minutes. Spoon the mixture into a bowl and let cool while you start lo make the dough.
Scatter the walnuts across the lined sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, stirring a few times, until the nuts are lightly browned. Turn the nuts into a bowl, stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and set aside (and turn off the oven).
- Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.
Beat the butter, both sugars and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt together on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, then scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Add the dry ingredients all at once, then pulse a few times to avoid spraying flour. Mix on low speed until you have a bowl of moist crumbles that hold together when pressed, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the figs and walnuts and pulse to incorporate.
Turn the dough out onto the counter, gather it into a ball and divide the ball in half.
Working with one half at a time, roll the dough ball into a 12-inch long log. Don’t worry about the diameter - it will be fine if you get the length right. Wrap the two dough logs in plastic wrap and freeze them for at least 2 hours, or refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Better yet, freeze the dough overnight.
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F. If you have a convection oven, you can bake two sheets at a time. If you don't and you know your oven has hot/cold spots, it might be best to bake only one sheet at a time. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Using a sharp knife, slice the logs of cookie dough into 1/2-inch thick rounds. If the rounds crack during cutting, just squeeze the dough back together. Place the rounds 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 14 minutes. Don't open the oven during baking. After 14 minutes, the cookies won't look quite done, but they will firm up as they cool.
Fully cooled cookies will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for 2 months.
*if necessary, you can use 1/2 cup of ruby port only