Cuccidatu (Sicilian Fig Cookies)
Makes 2 dozen
It just would not be an Italian holiday without these wonderful fig cookies, a symbol of Sicily. They are good keepers, too.
2¼ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup frozen unsalted butter, grated
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
1½ cups dried figs, stemmed, soaked in hot water for 15 minutes, drained and cut into small pieces
3/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1 large orange, juice and zest
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch black pepper
1 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon fiori di Sicilia*
*Fiori di Sicilia is available from King Arthur Flour, kingartherflour.com
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking powder. Cut in the butter until mixture resembles small peas. Stir in the milk and egg until the dough comes together.
2. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours or until easy to handle.
3. In a food processor, grind the figs, raisins and almonds into a thick paste. Transfer to a bowl and add the marmalade, zest, cinnamon and pepper. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of the dough into a 12-inch square.
5. Spread half the filling evenly over the surface of the dough, then roll the dough up to form a log. Cut twelve 1-inch slices, and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
6. Bake for 20–25 minutes, until golden brown.
7. In a small bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar and juice of the orange until smooth; add the fiori di Sicilia and mix until a glaze is formed that flows off a spoon but is not too thin.
8. While the cuccidatu are still warm, dip the tops of each in the glaze, allowing the excess to drip off. Place on cooling racks and sprinkle with colored sprinkles. Allow them to dry completely.
Note: Cuccidatu can be frozen in layers between wax paper for up to 3 months.