Cicidati (Italian Fig Cookies)
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- Total Time:
- Yield: 36 cookies
Like all holidays, St. Joseph’s Day is celebrated in New Orleans in a big way. Along with parades, the Feast of St. Joseph features St. Joseph’s Day altars, loaded with traditional foods like Italian Fig Cookies (Cicidati) to share with the community. You’ll find St. Joseph’s Day Altars in churches, restaurants, grocery stories and private homes all over the city. These cookies are made at Christmastime, too.
Cookie Dough Ingredients:
- 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ tablespoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup milk
- 1 cup dried figs
- 1 cup dried dates, pitted
- ¾ cup raisins
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ orange marmalade
- ½ cup walnuts (chopped)
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- Water or milk
- Colored sprinkles
Cookie Dough Directions:
- Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.
- Add sugar and stir well.
- Cut in the shortening with a fork and work the mixture until it looks like corn meal.
- Beat egg, vanilla and milk together in a bowl.
- Add egg mixture to the flour mixture and knead for 5 minutes on a floured surface until soft.
- Divide into four sections.
- Wrap each section in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Grind figs, dates and raisins in a food processor or chop by hand until coarse.
- Place in bowl and add remaining filling ingredients. Mix well and set aside.
- Take out one section of dough (leave the rest in the refrigerator until needed).
- On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch square and cut into 2X3-inch rectangles.
- Spoon 1 teaspoon of filling onto each rectangle.
- Carefully fold the long edges over to meet in the center. Pinch to seal seam.
- Place each cookie, seam side down, on a baking sheet, leaving at least 1-2 inches between each cookie.
- Make 2 or 3 diagonal slits on the top of each cookie with a sharp knife.
- Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until cookies are golden.
- Remove from oven. Place on a wire rack to cool.
- Put confectioner's sugar in a bowl.
- Add just a little water or milk for smooth – not runny – consistency.
- Ice the tops of each cookie.
- Sprinkle with colored sprinkles.
- Let icing dry completely before stacking.
- Store in air-tight containers for up to 2 weeks.