Friday, December 12, 2014

Anna Sultana's Santa Lucia Cookies, Christmas Season Cookies, Maltese Style

A few days ago I posted the story about my first Lucia Day as a married woman.
It didn’t go well.
Maybe the Sicilian St. Lucy didn’t like me celebrating the Swedish Saint Lucy.

Lussinatta, the Lussi Night, was marked in Sweden December 13. 
That’s when Lussi, an evil female, rides through the air with her followers, called Lussiferda.

Saint Lucy was born of rich and noble parents about the year 283.  
She was seeking help for her mother's illness at the shrine of Saint Agnes, in her native Sicily, when an angel appeared to her.  
Lucy became a devout Christian, refused to get married and was martyred.

Saint Lucia is the patron saint of the city of Syracuse in Sicily. 
According to legend a famine ended on her feast day when ships loaded with grain entered the harbour. 
It is traditional to eat boiled wheat berries mixed with ricotta and honey.
Wheat berries are also served as a soup with beans.

Santa Luċija (Maltese for St. Lucy) is the patron saint of the villages of Mtarfa in Malta and Santa Luċija in Gozo.
And Maltese prefer cookies.
Which can be served at any time that you’d prefer.

                              Santa Lucia Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen cookies


Grease 3 large baking sheets

In a large bowl place
1  1/2 Cups dry white wine
3/4 Cup Olive oil
Add gradually 
7 1/2 Cups flour 
Mix at a low speed about 15 minutes until the dough is firm. 
Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a floured surface.
Cut a small piece and, by hand, roll it into a thin, long strip about 1/4 inch thick.
Cut the strip into sections about 1 inch long.
Connect the two ends by pressing them together with your fingers.
Repeat with the remaining dough and place them on the baking sheets.

Preheat oven to 375º F
Bake cookies 30 minutes until lightly golden.
Let cool on the pans 5 minutes.
Transfer to racks and cool completely.


Combine in a large pot
3 3/4 Cups confectioners' sugar 
3/4 Cup Water
While stirring, bring it to a boil.
Once the water boils, continue stirring about 5 minutes.
Stop stirring - if the bubbles do not disappear from the surface, the icing is ready.

Put 1 Cup of the liquid in a bowl.
Add a few cookies at a time.
Swirl them around with a wooden spoon until they are coated.
Put the iced cookies on a wire rack.
Repeat the process for the remaining cookies.

Let them dry for several hours.
The icing should be completely dry and have turned white.

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