Ciao Italia Virtual Cookie Exchange

December 13, 2010

Ciao Italia Virtual Cookie Exchange

You are invited to Ciao Italia’s Virtual Cookie Exchange!

Since we all can’t be together in person to swap cookies, I thought having a virtual cookie recipe swap would be the next best thing. You can post your own favorite recipe below, then everyone else can choose to make them and add the recipe to their recipe box. It’s a great way to say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I can’t wait to see what you will send in!

How to Share

Use the comment form below to leave your recipe on this page.

Follow the format that I use below:

  1. Include a short introduction to tell us a little bit about why it is your favorite recipe.
  2. Type the name of your recipe in capital letters and tell us how many cookies your recipe makes.
  3. List the ingredients and write out the directions.

My Recipe

Fig-filled cookies are an absolute must to make and give for Christmas. They are a Sicilian tradition and one of my most cherished heirloom cookies from home. My mother gave this heavy fruit-laden cookie that reminded me of Fig Newtons. to all those on her Christmas cookie list and I have continued the tradition. You are on my list so I am sending them your way. Hope you enjoy them and don’t forget to share!

Sicilian Fig Cookies

Makes 4 dozen

4 cups King Arthur Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable shortening
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk

2 cups dried figs soaked in water
14 medjool dates, pitted
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup orange marmalade
2/3 cup walnuts or almonds, coarsely chopped
1 large egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
Colored sprinkles

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a large bowl. Add the sugar and stir well. Cut in the shortening with a fork and work the mixture until it looks like corn meal. In a bowl, beat the egg, vanilla, and milk together. Add to the flour mixture and work the mixture with your hands into a rough dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes, or until smooth. The dough will be soft. Cut the dough into 4 pieces, wrap each piece in plastic wrap, and chill for 45 minutes.

To make the filling, grind the figs, dates, and raisins in a meat grinder or in a food processor until coarse; or coarsely chop by hand. Place the mixture in a bowl, add all the remaining filling ingredients, and mix well. The mixture will be thick. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Divide dough into quarters and Wwork with 1 piece of dough at a time, keeping the remaining dough covered. On a floured surface, roll out each piece of dough to a 12-inch square. Cut the dough into 4-X-3-inch rectangles, and spoon 2 tablespoons of the filling mixture down the center of each rectangle. Carefully fold over the long sides of each rectangle to meet in the center, then pinch the seam to close it securely, and turn the cookie seam side down. Pinch the ends closed and fold the ends under. Shape the cookies into crescents and place seam side down on the cookie sheets. Make 2 or 3 diagonal slits in the top of each crescent with scissors. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with colored sprinkles. (Or eliminate egg wash and make a confectioners glaze; when the cookies are still warm, drizzle the glaze over them and sprinkle with the sugar)

Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Note: wrap the crescents individually in plastic wrap, twist the ends, and tie them with ribbons. They make wonderful Christmas presents. They can be made ahead and frozen.

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