1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 (8-ounce) package Neufchâtel or cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup fig preserves
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
In a large bowl, beat together butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until silky. Add brown sugar, vanilla and salt and continue mixing until creamy. Add flours and mix just until well combined. To ensure tender, flaky cookies, avoid overworking dough.
Divide dough into three equal portions on separate parchment sheets. Fold each parchment sheet over dough and flatten each into a 6- x 8-inch rectangle. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll each rectangle of dough between parchment to a thickness of 1/2-inch. Uncover dough and spread a thin layer of fig preserves onto each rectangle. Sprinkle with pecans, pressing them into the dough. Using edge of parchment as an aid, roll each piece of dough into a log and press to tighten.
Brush logs with milk and sprinkle with sugar, then carefully cut into 1-inch pieces. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. and bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Set cookies aside to let cool slightly.
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