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Test Kitchen Approved

Sesame Fig Thumbprint Cookies

Adapted from The Perfect Bite and The New Sugar & Spice cookbooks


1 dozen

Prep Time

15 Minutes

Cooking Time

1 Hours 20 Minutes

Adapted from The Perfect Bite and The New Sugar & Spice cookbooks

This impressive little cookie is flavored with sesame and vanilla, along with hints of orange and black pepper.

Serving Suggestions

Use any leftover fig filling by stirring it into yogurt and granola, on waffles, as a filling for cupcakes, or as a cheese plate spread.

Recipe Notes

*To use vanilla beans: split beans in half lengthwise and scrape seeds out from pod with the back of a knife. Use empty pods to make homemade vanilla extract or flavor homemade vanilla sugar.


For fig filling:

1 cup dried figs, stems removed

1 cup water

3/4 cup orange juice

For cookies:

6 Tbsp. sugar, divided

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 egg

1/2 vanilla bean of choice*:

1/3 cup fig filling

Savory Spice ingredients in this recipe

  • Vanilla Bean Sugar

    This sugar is a customer favorite for it's classic flavor that's great on all kinds of desserts. Perfect for coffee. Sprinkle on hot and cold cerea...

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  • Coarse Black Malabar Pepper

    Malabar black peppercorns are named for the region from which they are harvested, the Malabar Coast of India. These peppercorns have a bold and wel...

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  • Mayan Sea Salt

    Mayan Sea Salt has a clean appearance and flavor but is also an interesting tie to the ancient Mayan way of life. This sea salt was harvested off t...

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  • Toasted Sesame Seeds

    These toasted seeds contain an even nuttier flavor than the untoasted white sesame seeds. Because the toasting process has released their full flav...

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  • Madagascar Vanilla Bean Paste

    Our Madagascar vanilla bean paste is formulated to match Madagascar vanilla extract in flavor, strength, and usage. The paste holds hundreds of van...

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  • Madagascar Vanilla Beans

    Our Madagascar Vanilla Beans are Grade A, the highest quality available. Grade A beans, also called prime or gourmet beans, are pliable and plump w...

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  • Mexican Vanilla Beans

    Our Mexican Vanilla Beans are Grade A, the highest quality. Grade A beans, which are also known as gourmet or prime quality, are plump and pliable....

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  • Ugandan Vanilla Beans

    Ugandan vanilla beans are a premium quality. These beans are plump, pliable, succulent, and flavorful. The purchase of these beans supports local f...

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For fig filling: In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients and cook over medium-low heat for about 1 hour or until liquid has reduced to the point that it's covering figs about halfway. Transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until chilled. Makes about 1 cup filling, which can be kept in fridge for up to 1 month.

For cookies: Use a spice grinder or mortar & pestle to grind 1/4 cup of the sesame seeds with 1 Tbsp. of sugar. Whisk mixture together with flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and remaining 5 Tbsp. sugar together until creamy. Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Set bowl of dough in refrigerator to chill for about 10 min. Meanwhile, line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use a tablespoon to scoop dough about 1 inch apart onto baking sheets. Bake until just set, about 6 to 8 min. Remove sheets from oven and use a teaspoon to press a small well into the middle of each cookie. Fill each well with about 1/2 tsp. fig filling. Return cookies to oven to bake for 6 to 8 more min. or until golden brown around the edges. Remove from oven and sprinkle each cookie with sesame seeds. Let cool completely on baking sheets before serving.