The world has so many different things to learn and experience and every culture opens the door to so many new experiences. From new languages and customs to new traditions of music and food, all of these things add up to a kaleidoscope of colorful experiences called “life”! It should be very exciting to learn about new things and new experiences, yet some of us humans find this very challenging. Too many of us get caught up in tradition, we get to settled in for the evening, so to speak.
Everyday is meant to learn something new. Many times God tests us to “wake us up”! When we get to complacent, we become stagnate. What happens when something stays stagnate too long? It starts to deteriorate, it starts to get decompose and fall apart. Well, it is no different with us human beings. If we stay stagnate too long, we become old, broken, worn and you get the point… it is not good!
So life is meant to be lived, to be explored, to be tested! Yes, tested. See, if you don’t test the water, you will never know what it is like. You won’t know if it taste good or if it is cold or hot. So many times in life we have to take a “roll of the dice” and test the water! You really never know what is going to happen, even the best laid plans have unknown circumstances. That is where trust, faith and perseverance all come in handy! There is no perfect time to do anything. The most perfect time is now! Now is the time you want to start anything. Starting usually is 50% of doing anything!
Wow, another great thing about learning is when you receive more than what you expected. When you learn a new recipe, you are not only learning something new you also get to enjoy what you learned! A double bonus! It could be a triple bonus because if you make enough of whatever it is that you just learned and share that with as many people as you can, you now have made others happy, too! So you learned something, you made your taste-buds happy and you made others taste-buds happy too! A triple bonus!
This next recipe has a cousin that many of us find as a comfort food from our past. The fig newton has been around for decades. In Italy, they too have a similar cookie called the “Cuccidati”. It too has a soft cookie outside with a special fig filling. Mama Mia, you could definitely say it is time for an Italian style “Mouthgasm”!
Sicilian Fig Cookies (Cuccidati)
4 – cups all purpose flour
4 – teaspoons baking powder
½ – teaspoon salt
1 – cup Crisco
1 – cup sugar
3 – egg yolks
1 – teaspoon vanilla extract
1 – cup milk
About 20 dried figs
½ # raisins
½ # dried apricots
½ # dried cherries (or cranberries)
½ teaspoon ground clove
½ teaspoon cinnamon
8 ounces honey
1 – cup water plus (you have to keep adding a little water during the cooking process)
3 – cups confectioners sugar
1 – Tablespoon Crisco
Milk, 1 Tablespoon or more, to consistency to drizzle
Colored candy sprinkles, optional
Mix the first 3 ingredients and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the shortening and then add the sugar. Next, add the eggs, one at a time until well mixed, and then the vanilla. Incorporate the dry ingredients alternating with the milk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. The dough will be light and soft, not dry and stiff. Roll out into a square, about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and lay on a sheet pan. Refrigerate overnight.
Clean the figs of stems. In a food processor chop the figs and the apricots into a semi fine coarsely chopped mixture. Remove into sauce pan. Chop cranberries, raisins until coarsely chopped, place into sauce pan. In a saucepan mix all of the dried fruits, spices, honey and water and cook until the liquid is all absorbed (* add water during cooking. You want to cook for at least 30 minutes on very low heat. Stir occasionally). Cool.
Note: You can make a day ahead. Just cool and then refrigerate. The next day, take out to get to room temperature to make cookies.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Divide the dough into eighths, working with one piece at a time and keeping the rest refrigerated. Roll each piece into a rectangle about 3 by 12 inches. Spread the filling along the longer edge, roll over once and tuck under. Cut away any excess at the ends. Cut the roll into 1½ – inch pieces. Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment or wax paper, about one inch apart. Bake the cookies about 8- 10 minutes, or until bottoms are golden brown. Cool on wire racks.
Cream the shortening with the 10x sugar and add milk just enough to spread icing. Sprinkle with sprinkles if desired. Makes about 6 dozen.
This is a very delicate cookie to make. So be patient and don’t worry if you goof up a little at first. It is important to keep the dough cold. Roll like a jelly roll. Roll the dough on parchment paper and then use the paper to roll the cookie.
Life is very similar, especially when meeting new people. We have to be patient in learning their ways, which may be different than our ways. We have to treat situations that are confrontational to us, delicately. We need to learn that “our” ways are not the “ONLY” way! So as you approach each new day, remember that life is like a delicate, beautiful newborn baby. Be gentle with it, love it and nurture it so it grows into a beautiful day.
Thanks again for tuning in and until next time, treat yourself and life with love and kindness! You deserve it because you are one awesome human being! Peace
Get up today and say, “This is going to be a great day. I am excited about my future. Something good is going to happen to me”! Joel Osteen