My Cuccidati class at One Life Kitchen in Barrington was reminiscent of a large Italian family gathering; loud, chaotic, messy and full of fun and love. 24 local home cooks signed-up for the class at Barrington's new cooking events studio in the Foundry to learn how to make a traditional Sicilian Christmas Fig Cookie called Cuccidati.
For many attending the class, they remember their Mom or Grandma making them but have never made Cuccidati themselves. This class was a chance to learn the recipe along with some baking tips so they can pass on the tradition to their families.
I won the award in 2016 for “The Best Tasting Homemade Cuccidati” in a competition at Casa Italia, the Italian Cultural Center for the Chicagoland area. I shared that exact recipe with all at the class. If you want a copy of my recipe, please email me at email@example.com to request a copy.
My sous-chef for the day was my hard-working and very funny husband Tom who helped demonstrate how to make the dough and filling in a food professor (and washed a mountain of pots and pans).
The cooking event gave the home cooks a chance for hands-on experience. Shaune Sawyer and Eleanor Sweet McDonnell, both of Barrington, dug into the giant bowl of ground figs, raisins, dates, almonds, marmalade and honey with their hands to thoroughly mix the sweet filling.
Karen Pfeifer rolled and stuffed the cookies like a boss! Everyone had a chance to roll out the dough, stuff the cookies, and decorate with glaze and colored sprinkles. The two hour class went quickly. The oohs and ahhs that were heard as the cooks got to eat their warm, freshly frosted cookies just out of the oven was all I needed to hear. Cuccidati heaven.
Lauren Brynjelsen, owner One Life Kitchen, has created a beautiful and functional space for cooking and dining events. Located in the Foundry in Barrington, she offers a variety of ways to combine great food, celebrations and cooking.
You can download my free e-Book Top Ten Italian Christmas Cookies for more traditional cookies by clicking here.
Wishing all my readers a very Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year!
p.s. Thanks to Sally Roeckell, Andii Theocles, Mishaune Sawyer and Eleanor Sweet McDonnell for providing the fabulous pictures!