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. 

Makes 84 slices

Filling:
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.

Dough:
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.