Italian Christmas Cookies

Italian Christmas cookies, also known as “Cuccidati,” are a delightful and festive treat traditionally enjoyed during the holiday season. These cookies are filled with a sweet and spiced mixture, making them a perfect addition to your Christmas cookie platter. Here’s a classic recipe to make Italian Christmas cookies:

Ingredients:

For the Cookie Dough:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Filling:

  • 1 cup dried figs, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dates, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup almonds, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup orange liqueur or orange juice

For the Glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Optional Toppings:

  • Colored sprinkles
  • Chopped nuts

Instructions:

Step 1: Make the Cookie Dough:

  1. In a large bowl, cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until a soft dough forms.
  5. Divide the dough into four portions, wrap each in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Step 2: Prepare the Filling:

  1. In a food processor, combine the dried figs, dates, raisins, almonds, honey, orange marmalade, cinnamon, cloves, and orange liqueur. Process until the mixture forms a sticky paste.

Step 3: Assemble the Cookies:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Take one portion of the chilled dough and roll it out into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface.
  3. Spread a thin layer of the filling over the rolled-out dough.
  4. Roll the dough into a log, making sure to seal the edges.
  5. Slice the log into 1-inch pieces and place them on the prepared baking sheets.
  6. Repeat the process with the remaining dough and filling.
  7. Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden. Allow them to cool on the baking sheets.

Step 4: Make the Glaze:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, milk, and almond extract until smooth.
  2. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cookies.

Step 5: Optional Toppings:

  1. While the glaze is still wet, sprinkle colored sprinkles or chopped nuts on top for a festive touch.
  2. Allow the glaze to set before serving.

Tips:

  • Customize the filling by adding candied citrus peel, chopped candied cherries, or other dried fruits.
  • Store the cookies in an airtight container to keep them fresh.
  • These Italian Christmas cookies are perfect for gifting or serving during holiday celebrations.

Enjoy these Italian Christmas cookies, a delicious and festive addition to your holiday baking traditions!