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These Sicilian Christmas cookies are filled with dried fruit and almonds.

Melanie Barnard
Source: EatingWell Magazine, Holiday Issue 1996
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Ingredients

Cookie Dough
Filling
Icing

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • To make cookie dough: Combine flour, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, baking powder and salt in the food processor. Add butter and pulse until the butter is in very small pieces, about 10 seconds. Whisk together egg, egg white, 1/3 cup milk, oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract in a large glass measuring cup. With the food processor running, pour the liquid through the feed tube and mix just until a smooth dough forms. Scrape the dough onto wax paper or plastic wrap and flatten to a 1-inch-thick disk. Wrap and refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 days.

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  • To make filling: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread almonds on a baking sheet or in a pie plate. Toast for 3 minutes; add aniseed and continue to toast until the nuts are pale gold and the aniseed is fragrant, about 3 minutes longer. Let cool.

  • Combine figs, apricots, raisins, dates, 1/3 cup sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon, pepper and the toasted almonds and aniseed in the food processor. Pulse until the fruits and nuts are finely chopped. With the machine running, pour Marsala (or orange juice) through the feed tube and process until just blended.

  • To bake cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat 2 large baking sheets with cooking spray. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time (keeping the remaining pieces refrigerated), roll out on a lightly floured surface to a 4-by-12-inch rectangle. (Don't worry if the edges are ragged.) Measure a scant 1/2 cup of the filling and use your hands to spread it in a strip down the center of the dough.

  • Use a wide spatula or pastry scraper to lift the sides of the dough over the filling to form a roll. Use your fingers to press down the seam, which may be a bit ragged and uneven. Slice the roll on the diagonal with a sharp knife into 1-inch-long cookies. Set the cookies on a prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until the bottoms are pale golden and the tops are lightly colored, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool.

  • To make icing: Whisk together confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons milk, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract in a small bowl until smooth. Place the cookies close together on wax paper. Drizzle the tops of the cookies liberally with icing, then quickly cover with sugar sprinkles, if using, before the icing sets.

Tips

Make Ahead Tip: The filling (through Step 3) can be made ahead and refrigerated, covered, for up to 2 days. Return to room temperature before using. The cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Nutrition Facts

78.2 calories; protein 1.1g 2% DV; carbohydrates 15.6g 5% DV; exchange other carbs 1; dietary fiber 1g 4% DV; sugars 9.7g; fat 1.6g 2% DV; saturated fat 0.5g 2% DV; cholesterol 4.7mg 2% DV; vitamin a iu 51.5IU 1% DV; vitamin c 0.2mg; folate 16.6mcg 4% DV; calcium 18.7mg 2% DV; iron 0.5mg 3% DV; magnesium 7.1mg 3% DV; potassium 90.2mg 3% DV; sodium 36.2mg 1% DV; thiamin 0.1mg 5% DV.

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