When I was discussing holiday treat ideas with my friends, I began by describing these Date-Stuffed Cookies. The idea had been brewing in my mind for months! I wanted to make a mesquite cookie stuffed with dates and nuts, scented with cinnamon and orange, then sliced into pieces to serve. In my mind, these Date-Stuffed Cookies are the holiday showstopper of the cookie table. Date-Stuffed Cookies are not only beautiful to look at, but highlight so many amazing Baja Arizona ingredients.
As I described them, my friends said, “yeah, they’re called cuccidati cookies.” I said, “no, no, these are cookies I came up with. I created this recipe.” But the more I talked, the more they were convinced I was making cuccidati cookies. I had never heard of them before, but just as my friends said, they are Italian cookies stuffed with dried fruit and nuts. When I looked up “cuccidati cookies,” I found that cuccidati cookies are so similar to the recipe for the Date-Stuffed Cookies I had conjured up in my mind—just topped with sprinkles instead of pecans. I am so creative that I came up with a traditional Italian cookie! There really is nothing new under the sun… but those Italians sure do have some good ideas.
So, whether you call these Date-Stuffed Cookies or Southwestern Cuccidatis, they are a really special treat at the holidays. They do take more extra effort than most holiday cookies, but they’re unique and yummy, as well as a really beautiful surprise on your dessert table.