I like cookies.
I like the ones I make, myself, the best – ‘cause I make the ones I like the best!
One of my favorite holiday cookies is cuccidati. Some folks might think these are just fancy Fig Newtons. Yeah, like a Ferrari is just a fancy Buick. This is not a cookie for the faint of heart chef or the faint of heart diner, but I offer this recipe to you, so you can either make these delicious bites of Christmas joy for yourself or wheedle someone else into making them for you.
Cuccidati Gourmet 12/02 about 5 dozen
1 c packed soft dried mission figs (8 oz)
¾ c raisins
¾ c mild honey
¼ c brandy
1 ½ t finely grated orange zest
1 t finely grated lemon zest
¾ c walnuts, toasted and chopped
¾ c whole almonds, toasted and chopped
¼ t nutmeg
1 T cinnamon
¼ t cloves
Pulse figs and raisins in processor until finely chopped. Pour into medium bowl and stir in rest of ingredients. Chill, covered, at least 8 hours, and up to a week.
4 c flour
1 c + 2 T sugar
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into ½” cubes
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ c whole milk
1 ½ t vanilla
1 t finely grated orange zest
Pulse flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in processor. Pulse in butter just until most resembles coarse meal. Add eggs, milk, vanilla and zest and stir just until a soft dough forms. Halve dough and gather each half into a ball. Form each into a rough 4” x 6” rectangle. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.
Frosting: make while cookies are baking
1 c confectioners sugar
½ t vanilla
1 ½ – 2 T fresh orange juice
Stir together to form a pourable icing.
Roll one rectangle to 14’ x 15”. Trim to 10” x 13”. Refrigerate trimmings to re-form and re-roll once. Cut 2 ½” x 10” strips. Place 1/3 cup filling in an inch strip in center of each dough strip. Fold edges over to cover filling and pinch to seal. Turn seam-side down and flatten rolls. Cut into 1 ½” slices with floured knife. Bake ½” apart on buttered baking sheet in middle of 350° oven for 16-20 minutes until golden on edges. Remove to rack to cool 10 minutes, then frost warm cookies.
These will keep a week at room temperature in airtight containers, layers separated by wax paper.