Cuccidati

These cookies are a delicious twist on fig bars, full of Christmasy spices.  The recipe makes a lot, but the logs of shaped dough can be frozen tightly wrapped and pulled out in the weeks or months ahead when you feel like a cookie pick me up.

Cuccidati

Yields about 5 dozen cookies

Filling:

1 cup packed figs (8 oz), stems removed
¾ cup raisins (3 ¼ oz)
¾ cup mild honey
¼ cup brandy
zest and juice of 2 oranges
¼ cup water
zest from one lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
1/4tsp grated nutmeg
¾ cup almonds, toasted and chopped
¾ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Dough:

4 cups flour
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into ½” cubes
2 large eggs, beaten
½ cup milk
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon or orange zest

Icing:

1 cup icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla
1 ½ to 2 Tbsp orange juice

Filling:

Coarsely chop the figs and raisins.  Place all filling ingredients except the nuts into a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until thickened.  Remove from heat then stir in the nuts.  Chill until cold.

Dough:

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse in the butter until the butter is almost completely incorporated ( a few small lumps of butter is ok).  Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the eggs, milk, vanilla, and zest.  Halve the dough and wrap each piece in plastic wrap, pressing the dough out into 4” by 6” rectangles.

Assembly:

Preheat oven to 350.

Roll out one piece of dough to a 15” by 14” rectangle.  Cut into 10” by 3 ¼” strips.  Chill trimmings to reroll later (this dough works best if only rerolled once).  Arrange 1/3 cup of the filling down the middle of the each dough strip.  Fold the sides of each strip up over the filling, pinching the seams to seal.  Turn each log over and place on a cookie sheet.  Chill for 15 minutes then cut into 1 ½” slices.  Place on sheet ½” apart.

Bake until golden around edges,  about 20 minutes.

Icing:

Whisk together the icing sugar, vanilla, and enough orange juice to make a pourable icing.  Spoon icing over warm cookies then cool completely.

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