These are an old Italian Christmas cookie recipe, and I decided to try them since they remind me of a cookie that my Zia used to make when I was little. She lived right next door to Nonno and Nonnie, and she always had cookies for me when we dropped in to visit.
I found a great recipe on Allrecipes, but didn't have the time or ingredients to make the filling completely from scratch, so I used a jar of fig jam from Trader Joe's. I took the 9.5 oz jar of jam, added 3 Tbs. of cocoa powder, the zest from two organic oranges, and the juice from 1/2 an orange, about 1/3 c. of dried wild blueberries, and about 1/4 c. of organic agave nectar (but you could use honey instead). I made the dough by the recipe below, and for the glaze, I mixed powdered sugar with the juice of one of the oranges, then added a splash of cream (and then more pwd sugar), drizzled on and added sprinkles. Oh, also baked only 12 mins. - they do not need 15 as the recipe below says.
They are delicious! Erik agrees, and he helped with the whole process, although was trying to eat the raw dough so I had to break out some Pirouline cookies as a distraction. The Little E knows what he likes to mangia (eat) though—he knows the sign for cookie, says "KooKee" and says "Ooooooohhh OOOOoooohhhhh!" or does the chippy chuckle when cookies are available.
Cucidati (Italian Christmas Cookies)
1 pound dried figs
1 cup raisins
2 1/2 teaspoons orange zest
1/2 pound chopped walnuts
1 cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup orange marmalade
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Grind the figs, raisins, orange zest and walnuts in a food processor, blender or food grinder. If the mixture is too thick, a couple of tablespoons of water can be added. Gradually blend in the honey, cinnamon, chocolate chips and orange marmalade. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease two baking sheets.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and baking powder. Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the eggs, milk and vanilla until the mixture can be gathered into a ball. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut the dough into strips that are 4 inches wide. Spread filling onto one half of each strip lengthwise. Fold the dough over to cover and seal the edges by pressing on them with the tines of a fork. Slice the filled strips crosswise at an angle about every inch or so. This will make diamond shapes. Place the cookies onto the prepared cookie sheet.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Remove from the baking sheet to cool on wire racks. Glaze with your favorite confectioners' glaze and top with sprinkles for added festivity.