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Tatù - Sicilian Cookies

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Tatù are Sicilian almond cookies for Ognissanti, All Saint's Day, which falls the day after Halloween.

Prep Time: 30áminutes

Cook Time: 30áminutes

Total Time: 1áhour

Ingredients:

  • 1 k (2 1/4 pounds, about 8 1/3 cups) flour
  • 12 ounces (300 g) almonds, peeled and shredded
  • 2 pounds sugar (1 1/8 for the icing below)
  • Cocoa powder sufficient to darken the dough
  • For the icing:
  • 2/3 pound (300 g) bitter chocolate
  • Powdered cinnamon
  • A few drops vanilla extract

Preparation:

While we're on the subject of All Saint's Day, someone recently posted a request for a Sicilian cookie called Tatù on the forum. Pino Correnti, author of Il Libro d'Oro della Cucina e Dei Vini di Sicilia, says they're similar to Catalani, but with quite a bit of cocoa powder worked into the dough, and a chocolate glaze.

Catalani? They're for the Day of the Dead (Nov 2): "November 2," he writes, "is a great holiday for Sicilian children: the Dead take the place of the more Nordic Befana (who comes on Epiphany), giving out toys and candies. This custom of joining life and death is common throughout the Southern lands, and especially in Spain, which dominated Sicily for centuries: It comes as no surprise that these sweets are also called Catalani."

Work the flour, almonds, and 7/8 pound of sugar into a dough, using just a little water to moisten it, and adding enough cocoa powder to darken it. Use the dough to roll out S-shaped snakes or form balls the size of a walnut. Put them on a greased cookie sheet and bake them at 360 F (180 C) until golden.

At this point make the veil: heat the chocolate and sugar over a very gentle flame, stirring constantly, and when the mixture is smooth and creamy remove it from the fire. Stir in the vanilla extract, let it cool slightly, and ice the cookies. Dust the cookies with just a hint of cinnamon and they're ready.

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