Italian Fig Cookies (Cuccidati)

Cuccidati are fig-stuffed cookies — think fancy, gourmet, adult-version of a fig Newton! They are traditionally served at Christmas time in Italy and I finally nailed an old family recipe. A flavorful fig and date filling is wrapped in a soft, sweet dough, then baked and dipped in festive frosting and decorated with sprinkles. Need to send cookies through the mail? These are perfect for gifting! My favorite way to enjoy these cookies is for breakfast with a hot cup of coffee.

looking down at a bunch of Italian fig cookies
Prep Time:
1 hrs
Cook Time:
25 mins
Additional Time:
8 hrs 20 mins
Total Time:
9 hrs 45 mins
Servings:
32
Yield:
32 cookies

Sweet and fruity cuccidati are typically enjoyed during the holidays, but you'll want to eat them all year round! This cuccidati recipe, developed by culinary producer NicoleMcMom, results in cookies that are as impressive as they are approachable.

What Is Cuccidati?

Cuccidati are Italian fig cookies (a.k.a. Sicilian fig cookies). The outer layer is pastry dough covered in icing and topped with sprinkles, while the filling is made of sweetened and spiced figs and dates.

How to Make Cuccidati

Making cuccidati isn't hard, but you do have to closely follow a series of detailed steps. You'll find the full, step-by-step recipe below — but here's what you can expect when you make cuccidati at home:

1. Make the filling: Pulse the dried fruit in a food processor until finely chopped, then move to a bowl. Pulse the remaining ingredients until mixed, then return the fruit to the processor and pulse (with water) until thick. Refrigerate overnight.
2. Make the dough: Pulse the dry ingredients in the food processor. Add the butter and shortening, then pulse again. Add the remaining wet ingredients. Turn the dough out and knead until smooth. Chill. Roll and cut the dough into rectangles.
3. Fill the cookies: Fill and seal the rectangles according to the detailed recipe below. Transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cut the log into 2-inch pieces, then make slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
4. Bake the cookies: Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown and set. Allow to cool completely before icing.
5. Ice the cookies: Prepare the icing according to the detailed recipe below. Dip each cookie into different colored icing and decorate with sprinkles. Let dry before serving.

Tips from Nicole

· Dried mission figs or Kalamata figs work well for this recipe. Also, feel free to sub or add different dried fruits such as golden raisins or dried cranberries.
· You can use water instead of brandy, and walnuts or almonds instead of pecans.

How to Store and Freeze Cuccidati

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks. If you want to keep them longer, you can freeze the plain cookies for up to three months and ice them just before serving.

Editorial contributions by Corey Williams

Ingredients

Filling:

  • 2 cups dried figs, stems removed, cut in quarters

  • 1 cup dried dates, halved and pitted

  • 1 medium orange

  • 1 cup raisins

  • 1 cup toasted pecans

  • ¼ cup honey

  • 2 tablespoons brandy

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves

  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice

  • teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1 tablespoon water, or more as needed

Dough:

  • 3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

  • ½ cup white sugar

  • 4 teaspoons baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ cup cold unsalted butter

  • ¼ cup shortening

  • ½ cup milk

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • ½ teaspoon almond extract

Icing:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar

  • ¼ cup milk

  • red and green food coloring as needed

  • candy coated sprinkles as needed

Directions

  1. Prepare the filling: Working in two batches with ½ of the figs and ½ of the dates at a time, pulse dried fruit in a food processor until finely chopped; transfer to a bowl.

  2. Use a vegetable peeler to peel orange zest into the empty food processor. Juice the orange until you have 3 tablespoons juice; add it to the food processor. Add raisins, pecans, honey, brandy, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg and process until finely mixed.

  3. Add fig mixture and process until well combined, adding water 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to reach a thick consistency. Refrigerate filling for 8 hours to overnight.

  4. Prepare the dough: Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a food processor and process for 5 seconds to combine. Add butter and shortening and pulse until crumbly. Add milk, egg, vanilla, and almond extract and process until a dough forms.

  5. Turn dough onto a well-floured surface and knead until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

  6. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

  7. Turn dough onto a floured surface and cut into 4 pieces. Roll one piece into a 4x12-inch rectangle, about 1/8-inch thick. Trim off any excess to form straight edges and save to make more cookies.

  8. Place about ¼ of the filling in a 1-inch log shape down the rectangle, just to the right of the center line. Dampen the edges of the dough with water and fold the right edge over the filling. Continue rolling the dough toward the left edge, then rock back and forth gently to stretch and seal the edges. Cut the log into 2 ½- to 3-inch pieces. Make 2 or 3 slits in the top of each cookie to allow steam to escape. Transfer to prepared baking sheet; repeat with remaining dough and filling.

  9. Bake in batches in the preheated oven until golden on the bottom and cooked through, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

  10. Meanwhile, prepare the icing: Whisk powdered sugar and milk together in a bowl until smooth. Divide icing into thirds in 3 small bowls. Color one bowl with red food coloring to make pink icing, color another bowl with green food coloring to make green icing, and leave the remaining icing white.

  11. Dip each cooled cookie into a different color icing and allow excess to drip off. Place iced cookies on parchment paper and decorate lightly with sprinkles. Allow to dry for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

159 Calories
5g Fat
27g Carbs
2g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 32
Calories 159
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g 7%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 9mg 3%
Sodium 66mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 27g 10%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 2g
Potassium 138mg 3%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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