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Cuccidati - Spiced Fig Cookies

(Makes 24)
Cuccidati - Spiced Fig Cookies
Cuccidati - Spiced Fig Cookies

2-1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups dried figs (light or dark)
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water (eggwash)
Colored candy sprinkles

Alternate Topping:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons  milk
Colored candy sprinkles


To make the dough:
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor.
Pulse a few times to combine.  Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

In a small bowl, combine the eggs and vanilla.  Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and blend.  Add a little water, a few drops at a time, until the dough starts to come together.  Gather the dough together, flatten into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

To make the filling:
Process the figs, raisins, and walnuts in a food processor until finely chopped.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.  Stir in the remaining ingredients.
The filling can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours if not used immediately.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Grease 2 baking sheets.

To assemble the cookies:
Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces.
On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a log about 10 inches long.
With a rolling pin, roll each log into a 12 x 3-inch rectangle.  Trim the edges.
Spoon a 3/4-inch strip of the filling lengthwise in the center of the dough.
Brush the long edges of the dough with a little of the egg wash.
Lift up  the long edges of the dough to enclose the filling and pinch to seal.
Turn the filled sausage of dough over so that the seam is on the bottom.

Cut the strip into 4 (3-inch) pieces.  With a sharp knife, cut 3/4-inch slits at 1/2-inch intervals in each piece.  Shape each piece into a crescent. The slits should open slightly to reveal the filling.  Place the cookies 1-inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.

Brush the cookies with egg wash and drizzle with candy sprinkles.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.  Cool on wire racks.

To use the alternate topping:
Brush the pastries with the egg wash before baking but do not add the sprinkles.  In a bowl, whisk together the sugar and vanilla.  Add just enough milk to get a smooth icing consistency.  Brush the top of each cookie with some of the icing or dip the tops into the icing.  Drizzle with colored sprinkles.
Allow the icing to set before serving or storing.

If you are going to freeze the cookies, use the alternate topping method.
Thaw the cookies, then add the icing and colored sprinkles

You can make a simpler version of this cookie:
Roll out the dough and fill it with the fig filling.
Once the logs are formed, cut them into 1-inch sections rather than forming the crescents.  Bake following the directions above.  Add icing and sprinkles.
Cuccidati is a Sicilian cookie that is almost like a pastry.  It has a sweet dough that is wrapped around a filling of dried figs, raisins, walnuts, and chocolate that is flavored with orange and spices. Some Sicilian families make dozens of them to give to friends and neighbors at Christmas.
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This large capacity food processor speeds all cooking--from quick, weeknight meals to weekend celebrations.  The extra-large feed tube accommodates whole fruits and vegetables to fit inside for less pre-cutting and with ease.
The silicone pastry/baking mat has measurements in centimeters and inches.
Great for rolling out a round of pie crust to fit your pie pan.  Also, for this recipe, you can easily roll out a perfect 12-inch round of cookie dough.
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Oven safe to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, this bakeware features long-lasting, nonstick inside and out to provide excellent food release with quick cleanup and silicone grips on the handles for a solid, comfortable grasp.