Cucidati is a traditional Sicilian Christmas cookie that is filled with a mixture of dates, figs, raisins & nuts. It is
kind of time consuming, but it is a labor of love.
4 Cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Tablespoons baking powder
1/4 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup sugar
1 Cup vegetable shortening
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 Cup milk
1 Cup dried figs
1 Cup dried dates, pitted
3/4 Cup raisins
1/2 Cup walnuts, chopped or ground in food processor
1/2 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 Cup honey
1/4 Cup orange marmalade
2 Cups powdered sugar
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
4 Tablespoons milk (approximately)
Colored sprinkles (optional)
Directions For The Dough:
Sift flour, baking powder & salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the sugar & combine well.
Cut in the shortening with a fork or pastry blender & work the mixture until it looks like cornmeal.
In a separate bowl whisk together the egg, vanilla & milk.
Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture & mix with an electric mixer for a full 3 minutes. Dough will be soft.
Remove the dough from the mixer & knead by hand for 5 minutes.
Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, wrap each with plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Directions For The Filling:
Grind figs, dates & raisins in a food processor until coarse.
Place fig, date & raisin mixture in a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients & mix well. Mixture will be thick. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375° & line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Work with one piece of dough at a time, leaving the remaining pieces in the refrigerator until needed. On a floured surface roll the dough into a 12-inch square. Cut dough into 2x3-inch rectangles. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of filling into the middle of each rectangle. Carefully fold the short edges over to meet in the center & pinch to seal. Seal the sides as well.
Place each cookie, seam-side down, on a baking sheet, leaving 1-2 inches between each cookie.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies are golden in color.
Remove from oven & transfer to a wire rack to cool. Cool completely before icing.
Directions For The Icing:
Mix together the powdered sugar, vanilla & enough milk to achieve the desired consistency. You'll want the icing to be thick enough not to be runny, but still easily spreadable. Ice the tops of the cookies & decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Let the icing set completely before storing in an airtight container.