Aunt Lena’s Cucidati: Sicilian Fig Cookies

These traditional Italian treats are little logs of tender, flaky crust that open up to reveal a sweet, chewy filling reminiscent of a fig newton. To prepare, first make the pastry crust and filling, allowing them to sit overnight. Then just put them together and bake.

I must warn, though…there are several steps to this recipe. Each is actually very easy, but it does require time and planning. It took maybe an hour or so to make the dough and filling, then another hour or two forming them (by myself! It’s faster with help), which I didn’t do until the next day. For one person shaping four dozen cookies by hand, I’d say that’s pretty good! It’s quite fun, though, a feat to be proud of, and definitely worth the effort. You’ll never go near the store-bought version again, I promise.

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Lemon Polenta Shortbread Cookies

My Dad and Aunt Ann’s birthdays are coming up this week and, as always, I’m making a dish for my aunt. The tradition started a few years ago when my mother and I came up with the ingenious idea to make a really gruesome cake for her birthday, since it’s during the wondrous month of Halloween and our family is just the type to be into that sort of thing 😉 Not to say that we’re gruesome, but…our sense of humor certainly can be! Every Easter, we have a lamb cake or two and, by lamb cake, I mean a chocolate or yellow cake in the shape of a lamb. So, our idea was to make a chocolate lamb cake…corpse. I deemed it The Silence of the Lambs Cake and, I must say…it was the most amazing cake I’ve ever made, decoration-wise.

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