Cuccidati – Italian Christmas Cookies

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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!

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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! | ZagLeft

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.

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For this Cuccidati recipe, I used:

Plate of Italian Cookies, Cuccidati with a cup of coffee | One Dish Kitchen

Italian Cookies

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.

Cuccidati covered with sprinkles on a plate with a cup of coffee |Italian cookie plate | Zagleft

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, 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.

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Large platter of Italian Cookies - Cuccidati | ZagLeft

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 it’s maker.

Here’s how I make Cuccidati:

Step 1

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..

Italian cookie dough | Cuccidati | ZagLeft

Step 2

Fill each rectangle with a scoop of the filling.

Fill each piece of dough with fig filling when making Cuccidati - Italian Cookies | ZagLeft

Step 3

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).

Tray of cuccidati on a baking tray ready to go into the oven | Italian Cookies | ZagLeft

Step 4

Bake the Cuccidati in the oven until they’re beautifully golden, about 20 minutes.

Cuccidati baking in the oven | ZagLeft

An Italian cookie platter filled with Cuccidati | ZagLeft

Enjoy these Cuccidati for dessert, with your afternoon tea, or even with your morning coffee.

If you’ve come to ZagLeft looking for single serving recipes, please visit our One Dish Kitchen site.

Italian Cookie Recipe – Cuccidati

Cuccidati - Sicilian Fig Cookies
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
20 mins
Cool
10 mins
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins
 

Cuccidati, also known as Sicilian Fig Cookies are traditionally served during the holidays.The sweet dough is similar to that of a butter cookie and the filling is a mixture of dried figs, dried dates, raisins, walnuts, chocolate, apricot jam, honey, and spices.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: cookies
Servings: 48 cookies
Author: Joanie Zisk
Ingredients
DOUGH
  • 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
FILLING
  • 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
EGG WASH
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • colored sprinkles (for decorating)
Instructions
TO MAKE THE DOUGH
  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Add the egg and the vanilla.
  3. 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.

  4. 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
  1. In a food processor, combine the figs, dates, and raisins and process to finely chop.
  2. 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
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

  2. Cut the dough into 4 pieces.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough, one piece at a time. Cut the dough into long strips about 3-inches wide.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white and the water to make the egg wash. Brush the egg wash over each cookie.
  7. Top with sprinkles.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes, until cookies are golden brown.

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35 COMMENTS

  1. I love the cookies and I love the sprinkles, but what I especially love is that you don’t wait for Christmas to make them! Hooray!

  2. These look fun to make and delicious. I think this would be a great Christmas cookie, since the fig filling is that same quality winter or summer.

  3. What a wonderful cookie! No wonder they are often served for the holidays, but I’m with you on the fact that they sound good for year-round. Saving this recipe for sure!

  4. I love your story of how you came to know of cuccidati. When we visited New Orleans, we went to an Italian bakery – I wonder if it was this one. And growing up, I had a similar experience at Italian bakeries in New York and New Jersey (In terms of having difficulty picking which sweet to buy), but I don’t think I ever saw cuccidati – and if I did, I certainly didn’t realized what gems they were, or I certainly would have tried them.

  5. YUM!! These look absolutely divine. My boyfriend loves fig bars, which I’ve been buying in bulk bins. But, I would love to try my hand at making something like this. And, the store just started carrying medjool dates without packaging. Hopefully, I can find some package free figs this fall!

  6. I absolutely fell in love with all of the Italian cookies during many work trips to New York. I cannot wait to make this adorable recipe!

  7. Dear Joanie, I love visiting your blog. I always learn so much. Had never heard of Cuccidati cookies. What wonderful childhood memories you have. Would love to try these yummy cookies, and am absolutely intrigued by all the filling ingredients! Such a pretty holiday cookie!

  8. I make these every year for Christmas. They’re my dad’s favorite. I usually ice most of mine and top withsprinkles (although my dad prefers them with no decoration). I roll my dough out in a rectangle and slice it down the middle, then spoon the filling straight down the middle of each rectangle and fold the dough over, then slice into pieces. Yours look delicious!

  9. Hello Joanie,

    It’s been more than 30 years since I’ve enjoyed the wonderful cuccidati.

    As I was growing up in Sicily, we always called them cuccidrati. By any chance, do you know if there is a difference in the way it is pronounced in difference regions or am I remembering wrong, it has been a long time after all.

    I was also wondering if you have a good recipe for cassata. I know how to make the ricotta filling but am not sure what type of cake would be good. I’ve been thinking angle food, but it might be too soft once it is sprinkled with marsala wine.

  10. Hi Joanie, My youngest daughter Ashley made these delicious cookies for m last year! I grew up in a Sicilian/Hungarian household and my Hungarian mother always baked the Hungarian speciality delights and my Sicilian grandmother made the cookie, since she passed away the recipe for this cookie was lost.

    My taught revived it spirit and soul!! I am trying the recipe this year and I hope I can make them as great as my daughter – your recipe was by far the closest I have tasted to our original – probably even better!!

    Thank you!
    Angela DeCarlo

    • Angela, thank you so much for letting me know. Cuccidati are probably my favorite cookies and I always wonder why I wait until the holidays to make them. Hope you enjoy making them this year! Take care! Joanie

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