How to Bake Everything: Name Your Cookie

Text and photos by Kerri Conan

When asked the defining question “Stones or Beatles?” I say Kinks. Given the choice between Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip, the answer is “Fig Bittmans.” So that’s the first recipe we’re featuring from Mark’s newest cookbook How to Bake Everything.

For such fancy-looking cookies, the scenario is supernaturally simple: Make the dough (which calls for brown sugar to give the crust a lovely caramel color and flavor). While it rests in the fridge, soften dried figs (I used a mixture of Black Mission and Turkish) in orange juice; purée. Mark has you divide the dough into four pieces so it’s easy to handle, then roll and fill.

Transfer each folded log to an ungreased baking sheet—seam side down—and into a 375dgF. When you open the oven door to check on them the first time, you’ll be amazed at how they’ve puffed up. And the fragrance! Cut them into “Bittmans” while they’re still a little warm and you can hear the crunch.

For a pro-like look I trimmed most of the ends (and ate them!). The combination of fig, orange, and vanilla is way better than anything out of a box. And you get at least two-dozen cookies in one batch so they’re hardly any more time consuming than other cookies. They’ll keep for a week in an airtight container but won’t last that long. So if you want to pace yourself, wrap a few in sheets of wax paper and freeze them in a bag. Then you can defrost a package in the microwave and eat them warm for breakfast. Just saying.

The recipe follows so you can try a batch, too. They’d be terrific for a Halloween party.

You can find the recipe here.

Posted in Baking, Mark Bittman Books, Recipes


  1. Jackie Wicks said...

    I love anything with figs. These look great. And I’m going to buy your book because you choose The Kinks! Good choice!

  2. Suzy said...

    Anything I might be able to substitute for the butter? These look like something my husband would absolutely love!

    • Kerri Conan said...

      Hi Suzy, You can try one of the naturally solid, non-hydrogenated shortenings specifically recommended for baking. They’re usually based on coconut, palm, or other tropical oils and I’ve had good results with them in pastry doughs. Thanks for your interest! KC

  3. Kelly Strine said...

    @markbittman, is there supposed to be flour in the dough recipe? Or is it really just brown sugar, egg and butter?

    • Emily Stephenson said...

      It’s there, just above the baking powder! 2 cups.

  4. Talya Nevo-Hacohen said...

    would be lovely to see a vegan version….will flax egg and vegan butter get me there?

    • Kerri Conan said...

      Hi Talya, Thanks for writing! For the butter, see my reply Suzy above. I’m not familiar with flax egg but have had good results substituting firm silken tofu for egg in cookie recipes. There’s also a terrific vegan substitution chart and lots of vegan variations and recipes in How to Bake Everything.

  5. This is giving me a lot of ideas in my baking hobby. I am really glad to find your post about it. I’ve been doing this for more than 3 years now and I love the outcome of it because aside from enjoying what I love, I am able to get bond with my family also by baking their favorite cookie or cake. Thanks for sharing this post.

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