Nonna’s Cucidati (Fig Cookies)
Avo’s chef Nick Lama, his mother Lisa Saia and her mother Mrs. Louis Saia share a family recipe ahead of St. Joseph’s Day
4 cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
⅔ cup sugar
1 cup vegetable shortening
1 large egg
1 Tablespoon vanilla
½ cup cold milk
2 cups dried Calimyrna or Mission figs
2 cups dried dates, pitted
½ cup honey
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ cup orange marmalade
1¼ cups chopped walnuts
1 large egg white, plus 1 Tablespoon water
Preheat oven to 375. Grease two large cookie sheets.
DOUGH Sift flour, baking powder and salt together into a large bowl. Add sugar and stir well. Cut in shortening with a fork until the mixture resembles corn meal. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, vanilla and milk. Add to the flour and shortening mixture and fold together with your hands.
Turn dough out on a floured surface and knead for several minutes until smooth. Cut the soft dough into 4 equal pieces and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill for 1 hour.
FILLING Finely chop dried figs and dates. Place dried fruit into a large bowl and add remaining ingredients. Mix well and set aside.
On a floured surface, roll out 1 piece of dough at a time. Cut dough into 2-by-3-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 and pinch to seal. Seal sides as well.
Place the cookies, sealed side down, onto greased cookie sheets, leaving 1-2 inches between each cookie. Make diagonal slits across the top of each cookie. Beat egg white and water and brush cookies with egg wash. Sprinkle cookies with colored sprinkles.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool.
Makes 4 dozen
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