These were the cookies growing up that really set our family Christmas cookies apart from the cookies you saw on other family tables. These are the cookies that my Nana made every year for my Pap who came here from Sicily when he was 3 years old because they were his absolute favorite. His most clear memory of his life in Sicily was sitting on the porch of his Nana, waiting for cookies. Perhaps the cookie he was waiting for was a Cuccidata, perhaps not. But I like to think it was. Sicilians are known for their love affair with sweets and make some of the best in the world.
The fig is so under-rated here in America. People just really don’t know what to do with figs. I am a huge lover of this sensual fruit. I have shown my adoration of it on pizza, on salad and even as a jam. It can be sweet, savory or in between. There are endless ways to use this beautiful fruit, but one of the best ways is in these cookies. Dried figs are mixed with raisins, a ground whole orange (peel and all) and walnuts to create a filling for one of the softest best smelling dough I have ever worked with. Then the fun part is in true colorful, Sicilian fashion, get crazy with the colors and decorations-colored icing, sprinkles and this year, chocolate, really make each one of these cookies special. These cookies mean Christmas for the DiPiazza family. So I made these with my mom to honor the generations of DiPiazzas before us. Hope you enjoy!
8 cups flour
1 1/3 cup sugar
10 tsp baking powder
1 cup + 2 TBS unsalted butter, softened
6 large eggs
1 tsp salt
1 ¼ cup heavy cream (or 1 cup cream and ¼ cup milk)
1 tsp vanilla
2 packages dried figs (soaked in hot water for ½ hour)
4 cups raisins
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
1 orange, ground
2 cups walnuts
1 tsp cinnamon
1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
2-3 TBS milk
¼ tsp vanilla
Mix all dry ingredients together and all wet ingredients together in separate bowls. Mix wet ingredients in an electric mixer. Add dry ingredients to the wet gradually until all incorporated. Roll dough into a ball and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Flatten dough out and cut into strips 2x 4 inches. Put 1 TBS of filling in each strip and roll over, cut side down, and place on a cookie sheet.
Shape into a crescent. Make two slits on the top of each crescent with a sharp knife. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes until light brown. Frost when cooled and sprinkle with sprinkles.
Makes @ 60 cookies