Holidays are about traditions and treats. When I learned about all the Christmas cookies Gary’s family used to make, I was inspired to get baking. One of those cookies is the Cuccidati, the Italian Fig Cookie. Gary has reminisced about it many times. I never had one. Gary’s sister recently told us she was going to make them. I asked her for the recipe that she had transcribed from their grandmother. I created this vegan and gluten-free version. I love it! Gary says they are perfect. Here it is, from our family to yours. Here’s to keeping the tradition, now vegan and gluten-free.
1/4 lbs Almonds
1/4 lbs Walnuts or Pecans
1/4 lbs Dates
1/4 lbs Raisins
1/4 lbs Figs
1/4 teaspoon grated Lemon Rind (zest0
1/8 lb (2 ounces) vegan Chocolate Chips
1 ounce glass of Brandy or Whiskey (we use Bourbon)
1 Tablespoon Water
1/8 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Ground Cloves
1 1/3 cup Rolled Oats
1 1/3 Cup Millet
2/3 cup Garbanzo Bean Flour
1 Flax Egg (1 Tablespoon Ground Flax Seed Meal plus 2 1/2 Tablespoons water)
7/8 cup Sugar
13 Tablespoons Vegan Butter (we used Miyoko’s Cultured Vegan Butter)
3 1/4 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 1/3 teaspoons Xanthan Gum
1 1/3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
10 Tablespoons Plant Milk
2 cups Confectioners’ Sugar
4 Tablespoons Plant Milk
Start by making the filling. Turn to oven to 350oF. Place the nuts on a large sheet pan and toast for about 8-10 minutes. Keep an eye on them to make sure they do not burn. Remove them from the oven and allow to cool.
In a food processor, pulse all the filling ingredients together. Process until it clumps into a ball. Put in a container and let set in the refrigerator. Filling can be prepared a day in advance.
I make my own flour from Rolled Oats and Millet. In a high powered blender, process the Oats and Millet to a fine powder.
I use the food processor to make the dough. Put all the dough ingredients in the processor. If your food processor is not big enough you can work with smaller portions at a time and put everything in a large bowl to knead together. Pulse the ingredients to blend and then process to make the dough. I recommend keeping a little olive oil on the side to lightly oil your hands before handling the dough. The dough should be moist and sticky and hold together well. If the dough is too wet, add more flour, a couple of tablespoons at a time until the dough can be formed into a ball. If it is too dry add a tablespoon of plant milk at a time until dough holds together when pressed.
Remove the filling from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350oF.
Divide the dough into three balls. Roll one ball into a log and place on a sheet of parchment paper or waxed paper. Top with another sheet. Roll the dough out into a long rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Remove the top piece of paper and set aside. Trim the edges to make a rectangle about 5 inches wide. Save the trimmings to reuse later.
Divide the filling into 4 pieces. It may be hard but it will soften up when kneaded. Roll one quarter piece into a long log about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick and as long as the rolled rectangle of dough. If the filling log breaks just press it back together. Place the filling in the center of the dough.
Using the paper, roll up one side of dough over the filling. The dough should cover the filling. Roll up the other side and press the edge to seal. Roll the paper away. Slice the log on a diagonal, making one-inch wide slices. Turn each cookie over and place seam-side-down on a baking sheet.
Repeat with remaining dough. The trimmed edges can come together and make a fourth ball of dough to roll out.
Bake for about 10 minutes until the edges of the cookies turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool.
Combine confectioners’ sugar and plant milk to make the glaze. Dip the cookies in the glaze. You may decorate with colored sprinkles if you desire. Allow to set.
Store cookies in an airtight container.