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Christmas Cookies 2015

 

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Diabetic Coma…

That means it’s the Annual What Were We Thinking I Thought We Were Going To Cut Back Christmas Cookie-A-Thon!

Yeppers… we done did it, again. More cookies than we planned on making – which only means more cookie-eating. We’ll worry about the diet in 2016.

We made several of the traditional cookies, starting with Aunt Emma’s Apricot Cookies and four different Biscotti. Victor makes the Biscotti – and he has it down to a science! A triple batch of Aunt Dolores’ Rum BallsAlmond Cookies made into Thumbprints…

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And a couple of new cookies for us. We made a Soft Sugar Cookie this year – rolled in colored sugar. Festive. These came from The Food Network.

 

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Something fun and a bit of a different take on a traditional Sugar Cookie.

The real fun cookie, though, is the Cuccidati!

These are a Sicilian Christmas Cookie that we’ve both had in the past, but where or when escapes us… I had done a Google Search for Italian Christmas Cookies – note that we have been trying to cut back so I did a Google search for more recipes – and found dozens of recipes for the cuccidati that all had pieces or parts that sounded good – but not quite what I wanted – so I took the best from many and came up with a pretty darned good filling – if I do say so, m’self!

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These will be topped with a milk and powdered sugar glaze and then topped with either sprinkles or colored sugar. The Italians really like their sprinkles – me, not as much – but tradition is tradition.

There’s also a version where they’re dipped in egg and rolled in sesame seeds before baking. I thought I might do some of them like that and ended up not. Oh well. An excuse to make them, again.

Cuccidati

The Filling – should be made a day or two in advance

  • 1 lb dried figs
  • 1 lb dried dates
  • 1/4 lb raisins
  • 1/4 lb dried cherries
  • 1 seeded tangerine-peel and all
  • 1 1/2 cups pistachios
  • 1 small can crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup Marsala
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Working in batches, finely mince the dried fruit, tangerine, crushed pineapple, and nuts in a food processor. Transfer to a large bowl and mix well. Add the sugar, Marsala, and cinnamon, and mix it all together. Filling will be sticky but should hold together if pressed. Place in container and refrigerate for a day or two to meld the flavors.

The Dough

  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups lard
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • pinch salt

Cream sugar and lard until light. Add eggs one at a time and then vanilla and milk and mix well.

Mix flour with baking powder and slowly add one cup at a time until a reasonably-firm – but not sticky or dry – dough is formed. Refrigerate about an hour.

To Make Cookies

Preheat oven to 350°F. Take a piece of dough and roll into a rope about an inch and a half around. Roll into a long, flat shape.

Take a piece of filling and roll it into a rope and place down the center of the dough. Brush one edge with egg wash and roll dough over filling to seal.

Cut on an angle about every half-inch and place on parchment-lined cookie sheets.

Bake 13-15 minutes or till lightly browned.

Cool and frost, as desired, with milk and powdered sugar glaze and sprinkles.

 

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And just because one does not live by cookies, alone, I made a big tray of Fudge with Crushed Peppermint Candy topping.

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We still have a Greek Walnut Cookie to bake off – dough is made – and then we need to chocolate-dip and/or decorate and then start making trays.

It really is a fun tradition…

 

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