CUCCIADATTA COOKIES ~ Christmas Fig Cookies Sicilain Style

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Cucudiata fig cookies (16)

CUCCIADATTA COOKIES

It simply would not be Christmas in a Sicilian home without Cucciadatta Cookies on the table. Each year on December 19 the ladies in our family reconvene in my kitchen to prepare Pinulata and Cucciadatta Cookies, two very special traditional holiday desserts that have been made for generation in the Sicilian culture. The event of making these desserts is celebrated as if it were a holiday of its own for the women in my family. It is a night we all look forward to, we bake, compete,  joke, laugh, and reminisce about years past. A family gathering that sweetens our soles.

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Fig Filling Ingredients

1 stick fresh cinnamon

8 cups brewed coffee (reserve 1/12 cups)

3  8 oz. packages dried figs
1  15 oz. box seedless raisins
2  cups pitted dates
1  teaspoon lemon extract
1  teaspoon orange extract
Zest of 1 lemon & 1 orange
Juice of 1 large orange
2 cups chopped almonds (toasted)
2 cups chopped walnuts (toasted)
3 teaspoons freshly ground cinnamon
1 ½ large Chocolate Hershey bars with almonds (chopped)
1 cup orange marmalade

¼ cup orange juice

Cookie Dough Ingredients

6 cups flour

2 cups granulated sugar

6 teaspoon baking powder

2 heaping cups Crisco

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

3 tablespoons orange extract

Zest of 1 large orange

Zest of 1 large lemon

1 ½ cups warm milk (plus 1/2 cup for basting)

Glaze Frosting Ingredients

3 cups powder sugar

Juice of 1/2  large lemon

2 tablespoons of vanilla

2 tablespoons of milk

Multi color candy jimmies

Step-by-Step

1   Place figs, raisins and dates in large mixing bowl

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2   Brew 8 cups coffee with 1 cinnamon stick; pour 6½ cups hot coffee over dried fruit, reserve 1/12 cups coffee, cover mixing bowl loosely with plastic wrap; soak fruit overnight at room temperature

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3  Strain fruit in large colander

4   Using food mill or food processor fitted with metal blade; working with small batches grind figs, raisins, and dates until smooth thick paste forms

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5  Add reserve 1½ cups coffee to ground fruit mixture

6  Add extracts, nuts, chocolate, fresh ground cinnamon, orange marmalade and orange juice; mix well

Note~Fruit mixture can be prepared and stored refrigerator in air tight container up to one month

Step-by-Step

1  Sift dry ingredients together in bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment

2  Add Crisco; mix on medium /low speed  until dough is crumbly

3  Add extracts, and orange/lemon zest to 1½ cups milk; mix well; add to crumbly dough; mix on medium /low setting until dough comes together; wrap in waxed paper chill 3-4 hours before shaping cookies

Note~ dough should feel soft and more like pie crust dough than cookie dough

4  Divide dough ball into 4 sections; working one section at a time, roll dough out ¼ inch thick on lightly flowered work surface

5 Using the lid of a coffee can or 4 inch biscuit cutter; cut circles of dough; transfer rounds of dough to parchment paper lined cookie sheet

6  Baste edges of dough circles with milk

7  Place 1½ heaping tablespoons  fig mixture in center of each round

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8   Bring outside edges of dough together meeting in the center; pinch edges gently together

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9   Gently shape cookie with pinched edges facing up and in the middle, while pressing it slightly downward and curved to soft crescent half moon shape

10   Using kitchen scissors snip 3 small slits at top pinched edge of cookie

11   Chill shaped cookies in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes before baking

12   Bake in preheated 375 degree oven 10-12 minutes; or until slightly golden; cool 5 minutes; transfer to cookie rack; cool completely before frosting

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Note~While cookies cool, make glaze

Glaze Frosting

Step-by-Step

1 Combine all ingredients except jimmies in bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment; whisk together till smooth

11302  Using pastry brush, fix glaze over cookies and sprinkle with jimmies

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3  Allow glaze frosting to set 1 hour before packaging up in airtight containers  or boxing up to ship to family and friends

Cucudiata fig cookies (1)

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