I have a recipe for fresh fig cookies that is delicious (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/9929/fresh-fig-cookies/). I added a few extra spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and all spice) and changed the shortening to butter. My problem is the cookies come out like flat, round cakes instead of crispy cookies. The picture shown looks like crispy-ish cookies, but I've made them twice and both times they have come out the same way. Since I've already changed to butter to help them be crispy, can/should I increase the baking soda (or leave out the baking powder)? Or is there something else I can do to make them crispier? Or just resign myself to cakey cookies (and make a filling to turn them into whoopee pies)?
In general, to create crispier cookies:
baking soda (if you use this to replace the baking powder, keep in mind it's thought to be 3x as strong, so reduce accordingly. The decrease in acid leads to a longer set temp, which will help your cookie bake to be crispier. If you'd like to even out the decrease in acid, you can always use a little bit of each, or even add in a little lemon juice)
replace the egg (with whole milk to encourage spreading)
make sure the butter you're creaming is at the right temperature (read this post for more info: http://blog.kingarthurflour.com/2015/04/27/creaming-butter-sugar/)
bake it for longer at a lower temp with smaller flatter cookies
All of these tips are meant to increase the surface area of the cookie exposed to the heat, in order to dry it out/crisp it up. However, your cookie recipe also has the addition of all the water and stickiness of the fruits, so it is unlikely that you can get it to be completely dry and crispy, like a sugar cookie, for instance.
Tips gathered from many sources and experience, but the best one for cookies found was this one: http://blog.kingarthurflour.com/2015/04/27/creaming-butter-sugar/
Good luck on our quest for crispier fig cookies!
Changing the shortening to butter will have increased the water content - and added water will get you gluten formation and softness, thus more cakeyness. Same with the suggestion above to add milk. Try going very, very dry instead. Also, try saving the broken or off-shape cookies from one batch, beat them into fine crumbles, and add them to your next batch (this is how it is sometimes done in commercial, factory produced cookies!).
J. Kenji Lopez-Alt has written a lot about which ingredients / processes create various results in cookies (crispy or chewy or cake-y; tall or not; spreading or not; etc.); here's one useful recipe with a lot of explanation. Different type of cookie, but some or much of the info will be of use.
Also, the fat-to-dry ratio in your recipe is very low -- about 1:6. The cookie recipes I've enjoyed the most -- cookies with a crumbly texture and a bit of a crispy snap -- have a fat-to-dry ratio around 1:3 or 1:4.