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Cookies without Nuts
muscardini
Muscardini (Tongue-shaped Sicilian cookies, with eggs, flour and icing sugar)
Originated from: Cattolica Eraclea, Agringento, Sicily
Occasion: Weddings
Contributed by: Franca Cucuzzella (Her grandmother's recipe)

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Ingredients

3 "jumbo" eggs
2 pounds icing sugar
1 tablespoon Magic baking powder
Flour, as much as needed (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon clear-colored vanilla (optional)



Directions

o Beat eggs and icing sugar until it has a mousse-like consistency.

o Mix baking powder with flour.

o Add flour mixture until you have a soft dough -- the consistency of a pizza or bread dough.

o Roll out the dough to about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.

o Cut out rectangular pieces of dough the size of walnuts keeping in mind that the cookies will double in size when baked.

o Place the cut-out uncooked cookies on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.

o Cover the uncooked cookies with a linen cloth and let them rest overnight (or for 8 hours).

o The next day, preheat oven to 275 F degrees.

o Place the cookies far apart (at least 2 inches, as the cookies will double in size ) on a greased and floured cookie sheet (or an ungreased one, but lined with parchment paper).

o Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the muscardini have expanded in size and are nicely cooked, keeping in mind that the cookies should not turn golden, but retain a whitish color.




Notes

The cookies shown in this entry were made by Franca Cucuzzella. Franca noted that when her grandmother was growing up in the 1920s in Cattolica Eraclea, Agringento, these cookies were only made for weddings. Prior to World War II these cookies would have been extremely expensive to make. Nowadays, various recipes for muscardini include all kinds of ingredients and flavorings but back in the 1920s these cookies only used eggs, sugar, flour and baking powder. In some other parts of Sicily muscardini cookies (according to some Internet cooking sites) are done for The Feast Day of the Dead (November 2nd). However, in Cattolica Eracles this is not the case. In this town the traditional dessert served on The Feast Day of the Dead (or All Souls' Day) is called "Frutti di Zucchero," fruits of sugar. As its name suggests these treats come in the shape of fruits. Often these almond-based, fruit-shaped cookies (or pastries) are displayed on a bed of fresh fruit. When this is done the delicacy is then called "fruitti marturaiu." Prior to World War II not everyone in the town could make (or buy) this expensive dessert on The Feast Day of the Dead. However, those that did make it, would present the dessert to a family who had lost a loved one. The dessert would be given in remembrance of the person who had passed away. Generally, the dessert was brought to the family in the morning, and was not eaten till the evening. The "fruitti marturaiu" would be placed on display during the day, and only be consumed at night. Often, the one who had made the dessert would return and visit the family and enjoy the fruits of her labor.... Photo: Mary Melfi.

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