Nuts and dried fruit compose many classic Southern Italian sweets. The center of this cookie is a flavorful paste made with Prune Bits mixed with spices, and nuts. The cookie dough and purée can be made and refrigerated a few days in advance.
Yield: 90 cookies
350 grams / 2 1/2 cups Prune Bits
25 grams / 2 tablespoons lemon juice
60 grams / 2/3 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
60 grams / 2/3 cup pecans, lightly toasted
45 grams / 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 gram / 1 teaspoon lemon zest
.5 gram / 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
.5 gram / 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
.5 gram / 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
560 grams / 4 cups all-purpose flour
4 grams/ 1 teaspoon baking soda
4 grams / 1 teaspoon salt
227 grams / 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
195 grams / 1 cup sugar
1 large egg
5 grams / 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
60 grams / 1/4 cup whole milk
Egg, beaten with a splash of water
To make the filling: In a food processor, blend the prune bits, walnuts, pecans, brown sugar, lemon juice and zest, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves until the ingredients come together in a ball.
To make the dough: in a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until slightly fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the egg and vanilla, mixing well between each addition. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the milk. Gradually add the flour, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly until it comes together into a smooth ball. Cut the dough in half; refrigerate one piece as you work on the other. Roll the dough into a rectangle 12 inches long. Cut the rectangle into 2-inch wide strips. You will have about 6 strips.
With oiled hands, pinch off a piece of filling and roll it into a rope about 12 inches long and no more than 1/2-inch thick. Repeat until you have enough ropes for each strip of dough. Place the ropes in the center of the dough. Roll the dough around the filling so the filling is completely encased. Seal the edges and roll the dough firmly a few times. Cut the ropes into 2-inch pieces and place on the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
Brush the tops of the cookies with egg wash. Bake until evenly brown on top, about 12 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and cool completely.