Nonna Leone's Cuccidati

This recipe is outstanding! I would make these more often if I had the time. They take some time and planning but they are oh so worth it. This is a traditional Sicilian cookie recipe given to me by my beautiful and dear friend Buona. ~Rue


1 8oz pkg dried Mission figs hard tips removed
1 8oz pkg Medjool Dates stones removed
1 cup raisins
3/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brandy
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange zest
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup sliced/blanched almonds ,chopped and lightlytoasted
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped and lightly toasted
1/2 of the Large Hershey Bar - (6 - 8 oz size) coarsely chopped

Chop figs and raisins in a food processor until finely chopped, then stir together with remaining ingredients in a glass bowl. Chill, covered, at least 8 hours. Or even up to 2 or 3 days.

Cookie dough:

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk -Whole milk please - no skim or low stuff
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange or lemon zest

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender or blend with your fingertips until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with some small butter lumps. Add eggs, milk, vanilla, and zest and stir with a fork or wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Halve dough and form each half into a ball, then flatten each half into a rectangle about 4 X 6 between sheets of plastic wrap. Chill overnight until firm.

Preheat oven to 350

Roll out 1 piece of dough into a 15- by 14-inch rectangle on a well-floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Then cut into 3 1/2-inch strips (about 3 1/2W x 12 L ) Spread about 1/3 cup filling in a strip lengthwise down center of each strip, then fold sides of each strip up and over filling pinching edges together to seal. Turn seam sides down and press gently to flatten. Cut logs crosswise with a floured knife into 1 1/2-inch-wide slices and arrange 1/2 inch apart on buttered large baking sheets. Make more cookies with remaining chilled dough, trimmings and filling.

Bake, one cookie sheet at a time, in preheated 350 oven, in middle of oven about 15 to 20 minutes, or till golden around edges. Transfer cookies to racks and cool until warm, about 10 minutes. While still warm, glaze.
Whisk together confectioners sugar, vanilla, and enough orange juice to make a loose icing. I really don't have measurements for this, I start with 1 cup of confectioner sugar and 1 tsp vanilla and go from there.

Brush icing on warm cookies and decorate with colored sugar sprinkles then cool completely. Store in tins - keep in a cool place but not the fridge.

Makes about 5 doz

~Buona from N.J.