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recipe that you can whip up in an afternoon. It takes my friend Anna Santucci, a native Italian, and myself about 10 hrs. to create but, oh, it is so worth the work," said Roussarie, the wife of Bill. The east Cobb couple has one grown daughter.

1 lb. pitted dates

1 lb. pecans

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"In Palermo, we came upon a bakery that sold the fig cookies and I can honestly say they tasted just like Nonna's," said Roussarie, a teacher who teaches 3 year olds at the Wood Acres School in east Cobb.

"Now, like my grandmother and mother before me, I am continuing their tradition of baking these wonderful confections. It just wouldn't be Christmas without them," Roussarie said.

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teaspoon allspice

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teaspoon cinnamon

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1 lb. seedless raisins

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A few years ago, Roussarie and her sister, Amanda Castricone, traveled to Sicily where they found the small town of Villafrati and the house of Nonna's childhood.

Cuccidati is a complex cookie made of fig and fruit filling encased in dough and then iced in pastel colors. "I won't lie to you and say this is a Nike Stefan Janoski White

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cup sugar dissolved in cup warm waterA very large bowlSoak figs ahead of time in warm water until softened. This may take 30 min. or so. Put each ingredient one at a Nike Janoski Gold time into the food processor except the sugar water. Process the figs a little at a time. Place processed ingredients into the large bowl and mix all together. Add sugar water to the fig mixture and mix very well. It should be moist but not wet.

Figs dates offer an Italian take on traditional Christmas cookies

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While in Italy, Roussarie was able to try Italian made cuccidati.

Many Sicilians settled in New Orleans, but some like Roussarie's grandparents made their way to Tangipahoa parish, 60 miles north of the city. There they made a living by growing strawberries.

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lb. candied mixed fruit

it was for us to meet the grandchildren of my grandmother's sister who had remained Nike Sb Stefan Janoski Max L Shoes

in Sicily," she said. Roussarie and her husband moved to Cobb County from New Orleans for lifestyle and work.

Christmas cookies are a mainstay during the holidays. For Wanda Roussarie, it's a celebration of her heritage. She shares her recipe for Cuccidati handed down from her maternal Sicilian grandmother.

1 orange (zest and juice)

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"My grandmother, 'Nonna' in Italian, made many wonderful dishes. One of her traditional ones was a recipe for a fig cookie named Cuccidati (pronounced Goo je data) that she made at Christmas," Roussarie said.

NONNA'S FIG COOKIES The recipe is in three parts: mixing the fig filling, making the dough and icing the cookies. This recipe makes approximately 250 cookies. Part One: Fig Filling

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Roussarie's maternal grandparents immigrated from Villafrati, Sicily to Louisiana in 1906. They were like most immigrants in the early 20th century seeking a better life in America.

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4 lbs. dried figs, stems removed

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