Cuccidati, also known as Italian cookies are traditionally served during the holidays. Sweet cookie dough filled with dried figs, dried dates, raisins, walnuts, chocolate, apricot jam, honey, and spices. Incredibly delicious little cookies!
I’m so excited bring you this recipe Cuccidati recipe today. I grew up eating these Italian cookies and am happy to be able to bring you the recipe.
For this Cuccidati recipe, I used:
When I was a little girl growing up in New Orleans, my family had a Sunday tradition. It always began with morning Mass at St. Patrick’s Church, followed by lunch in the French Quarter. After lunch, we’d drive over to a wonderful little Italian bakery called Brocato’s.
I always believed that I knew exactly what I would order before stepping inside this charming authentic Italian bakery. I’d been there so many times, I knew their menu by heart. Each time however, I found myself looking into the big, clear display cases and questioning my decision.
I was always torn between the creamy wedges of spumoni, a rich cannoli, or a light, cream filled napoleon. Those decisions were tough, especially for a little girl with a huge sweet tooth.
One thing I knew for sure regardless of which delightful sweet treat I ordered, I would always come home with a little bag of Italian cookies filled with a sweet fig mixture, otherwise known as Cuccidati.
What Are Cuccidati?
Cuccidati are fig stuffed cookies originating from Sicily which are traditionally served at Christmas time.
Even though my grandfather was from Palermo, Sicily, I honestly don’t remember eating these cookies at Christmas. We ate these Italian cookies year-round.
I also have fond memories of eating Cuccidati on St. Joseph’s Day in New Orleans. Large trays of these Italian cookies would decorate the various St. Joseph’s Day Altars throughout the city.
Traditional Italian Cookies
St. Joseph’s Day is celebrated every year on March 19th and St. Joseph holds a special place in the hearts of the Sicilian people.
During a famine in Sicily, people were starving. They prayed to St. Joseph to intercede for them so they would have successful crops. Their prayers were answered and in return, when the famine came to an end, the people set up “St Joseph’s Altars” to honor St. Joseph.
The tables were and still are filled with meatless dishes, Italian pastries, cakes, and other treats. The tables are blessed by a Catholic priest and in a place of honor is a statue of St. Joseph.
Cuccidati have quite a history but to me they’re simply my favorite fig cookie.
The sweet dough is similar to that of a butter cookie and the filling is a mixture of dried fruits, honey, and spices
There are many different ways to make Cuccidati, each way unique to its maker.
Here’s how I make Cuccidati:
Make a batch of the cuccidati dough and put it in the refrigerator to chill. Meanwhile, prepare the cookie filling in a food processor.
After the dough has chilled, roll out the dough and cut out little rectangles..
Fill each rectangle with a scoop of the filling.
Fold the edges over to enclose the filling.
Pinch the edges to seal.
Brush with egg wash and decorate with colored sprinkles (my Cuccidati are never all the same size and that’s okay).
Bake the Cuccidati in the oven until they’re beautifully golden, about 20 minutes.
Enjoy these Cuccidati for dessert, with your afternoon tea, or even with your morning coffee.
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Italian Cookie Recipe – Cuccidati
Cuccidati - Sicilian Fig Cookies
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg , beaten
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 16 tablespoons butter , cut into pieces (2 sticks)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 1/2 cups dried figs
- 1 cup dried dates
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup apricot jam
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon water
- colored sprinkles (for decorating)
TO MAKE THE DOUGH
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Add the egg and the vanilla.
- Add the butter and using a pastry/dough blender, two knives, or your fingers, cut in the butter. You want the mixture to be a cornmeal or pebble-like consistency.
- Add the milk and mix it into the dough. Using your hands, make a large roll with the dough, wrap it in plastic wrap and place in in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.
TO MAKE THE FILLING
- In a food processor, combine the figs, dates, and raisins and process to finely chop.
- Add the walnuts, chocolate chips, apricot jam, honey, orange zest, and cinnamon and process again. (If your food processor isn't big enough to hold the entire amount of filling, process in batches, then pour the filling into a large bowl and stir to combine).
TO ASSEMBLE THE CUCCIDATI
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- Cut the dough into 4 pieces.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough, one piece at a time. Cut the dough into long strips about 3-inches wide.
- Cut out squares from the rectangle strips. Flatten the squares slightly with your fingers and add a spoonful of the fig filling to the center.
- Fold the dough over, pinching the ends. Using a sharp knife, make 2 slits in each cookie. Place the cookies on a cookie sheet lined with silpat or parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white and the water to make the egg wash. Brush the egg wash over each cookie.
- Top with sprinkles.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until cookies are golden brown.
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