SICILIAN Cuccidati (Fig Cookies)
Makes 4 dozen cookies
4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable shortening
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup cold milk
2 cups dried Calimyrna or Mission figs
2 cups dried dates, pitted
1/2 cup honey
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1-1/4 cups chopped walnuts
1 large egg white, plus 1 tablespoon water
Rainbow colored sprinkles
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease 2 large cookie sheets.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt together into large bowl. Add sugar. Stir well. Cut in shortening with a fork until mixture resembles corn meal.
In separate bowl, whisk together egg, vanilla and milk. Add to flour and shortening mixture and fold in with hands.
Turn dough out on floured surface and knead for several minutes until smooth. Cut soft dough into 4 equal pieces, and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour.
To make filling, finely chop dried figs and dates. Place dried fruit in large bowl and add honey, cinnamon, marmalade and walnuts. Mix well. Set aside.
On floured surface, roll out 1 piece of dough at a time to about 10-inches-by-3-inches. Spoon a generous amount of filling down the middle of the strip of dough. Carefully fold short edges over to meet in center and pinch to seal. Slice the cookie log into approximately 1-1/2-inch long pieces.
Place cookies, sealed side down, on greased cookie sheets, leaving 1 to 2 inches between each cookie. Make two diagonal slits across the top of each cookie.
Beat egg white and water and brush cookies with egg wash. Sprinkle cookies with colored sprinkles.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
MY SICILIAN NONNA
Daniel Bellino “Z”
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