Friday, January 27, 2017

improvisational newtons





Dear Friends,
I have had occasion recently to visit the fine Eagle Rock Italian Bakery, and they sell a traditional Italian filled cookie there, which is often called 'cuccidati.'  In that beautiful serendipitous way that the world moves, the following recipe emerged from the piles and stacks of interesting magazines and books that we step over and around all day here at the Dodo.  It is from a Christmas cookie contest in Sunset Magazine, and the runner-up recipe is given by one Marilyn Perata Berg.  I have adapted it slightly, and I encourage you to improvise on the filling, as I did. 
or Fig-ish Newton-esque cookies:
1 cup dried figs
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup almonds, toasted
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup golden syrup or honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon- or even more, if you like it like that!
zest of 1 lemon (or use that orange you juiced!)
Vary the dried fruit and nuts as you wish- I used figs, dried cherries, apricots, raisins, almonds and black walnuts.
Grind all the filling ingredients up in the food processor, or take your time and methodically mince and chop.
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 softened butter
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
Beat butter and sugar, add egg, vanilla, and milk.  Add the remaining dry ingredients; you should have a soft dough.  Divide into thirds- roll each piece between two sheets of parchment paper into an oblong about 5" x 15".  Stack the oblongs between paper on to a cookie sheet and freeze them for 15 minutes.  Spread 2/3 cup of filling along the rolled dough- leave about an inch and a half on each long side.  Use the parchment paper to fold the edges around the filling, flip it so the seam is on the bottom.  Slice it into one inch segments, on the bias.  Bake them at 350 degrees for 20- 25 minutes.
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
Sift the sugar and add the lemon juice and water slowly -  you don't want it too thin. Spread or drizzle the glaze over the cooled cookies, or, dip their topsides into the glaze.

Try Gourmet's cuccidati recipe, if you want to make a study of it. If you admire the lovely bowls the cuccidati are in in this post, look here.  Visit their charming pottery and peruse their exceptionally priced tableware.