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Food & Entertaining

Cuccidati (Italian fig cookies)

Author: Susan Regan
Issue: December, 2011, Page 84

My sister Olivia perfected these traditional Italian cookies based on both of my grandmothers’ recipes. The convenience of a food processor cuts the prep time from hours to minutes.

-Art Director Leonard Loria


2 cups dried figs, hard tips discarded
1½ cups dried dates, pitted
1 cup raisins
3/4 cup whole almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup whole walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup brandy or water
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cut into
1/2-inch-thick cubes
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla

Egg Wash
1 tablespoon water
1 egg white

Combine figs, dates and raisins in a food processor bowl fitted with a steel blade and process to finely chop. Place mixture in a medium bowl and add remaining filling ingredients; stir to combine.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl to combine.

Add butter and blend with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Set aside.

Beat egg, milk and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Add to dry mixture and stir to make a rough dough.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Divide dough into 4 pieces. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 2 large baking sheets.

Combine water and egg white in a small bowl and beat slightly to make an egg wash.

Roll one piece of dough at a time into a 12" square on a lightly floured surface. Cut dough into 4" x 3" rectangles. Spoon 2 tablespoons of filling lengthwise down the center of each rectangle. Fold the long sides of each rectangle inward to the center to enclose the filling; pinch edges to seal. Turn rectangle log seam-side down and press gently to flatten seam.

Brush egg wash on log and sprinkle with nonpareils. With a floured knife, cut log crosswise into 1½"-wide slices and arrange ½" apart on prepared baking sheets.

Bake 15 minutes. (The cookies will not brown.) Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.

Enjoy more of our great holiday recipes from the staff at Phoenix Home & Garden!
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