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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!

A plate of eight Cuccidati cookies topped with rainbow spinkles

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Traditional and Cultural Significance: Cuccidati cookies are a traditional Italian treat, often associated with special occasions and holidays.
  • Blend of Flavors and Textures: The filling of cuccidati cookies typically consists of a mixture of dried fruits, nuts, honey, and spices. This blend of flavors and textures – sweet, chewy, and nutty – can offer a delightful sensory experience that appeals to those who appreciate complex taste profiles.
  • Gift-Giving: The thought and effort put into making these cookies can make them a meaningful and personalized gift that shows care and attention to detail.
  • Versatility: While cuccidati cookies have traditional ingredients, there’s room for creative adaptation. Bakers can experiment with different fillings, shapes, and decorations, allowing for personalization and innovation in the kitchen.

What Are Cuccidati?

Cuccidati cookies, also known as Italian fig cookies or Sicilian fig cookies, are a traditional Italian pastry that is often associated with holidays and special occasions. These cookies have a distinctive appearance and a unique flavor profile. There are many different ways to make Cuccidati, each way unique to its maker.

The sweet dough is similar to that of a butter cookie and the filling is a mixture of dried fruits, honey, and spices.

Two cuccidati's topped with rainbow sprinkles on a small plate next to a mug of coffee

Ingredient Notes

See recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

  • Flour: I use all-purpose flour (plain flour).
  • Sugar: Use granulated sugar to deliver the perfect amount of sweetness.
  • Baking Powder: Helps give the cookies a little lift.
  • Vanilla Extract and Salt: For flavor.
  • Butter: Butter helps makes these cookies tender and it adds flavor.
  • Egg: 1 large egg, beaten, is all you need to add structure to the cookies.
  • Milk: Use any percentage of cow’s milk, almond milk, or soy milk.

For the filling:

  • Dried Figs: Figs are crucial to making Cuccidati. They add a bright, sweet flavor.
  • Dried Dates and Raisins: Dried dates and raisins help create a sweet, jam-like filling.
  • Walnuts: I love using walnuts, but you can use chopped pecans or any nuts you have on hand.
  • Chocolate Chips: Folded into the pureed mixture for additional sweetness.
  • Jam: I use apricot jam. Feel free to use any flavor jam, preferably orange or fig.
  • Honey: For sweetness.
  • Orange Zest: Compliments the sweet ingredients.
  • Ground Cinnamon: 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.

For the egg wash:

  • Egg White and Water: An egg wash is a mixture of egg and water brushed upon pastries and cookies to give them a shiny, golden finish.
  • Sprinkles: Optional for decoration.
Two and a half cuccidati's on a small plate next to a mug of coffee

How To Make Cuccidati

For 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.

For 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. Cut the dough into 4 pieces.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough, one piece at a time. Cut the dough into long strips about 3-inches wide.
  3. 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.
A small rectangle of cuccidati dough topped with a dollop of filling from a cookie scoop on a cutting board

4. 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.

5. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white and the water to make the egg wash. Brush the egg wash over each cookie.

6. Top with sprinkles.

Fourteen Cuccidati's topped with rainbow sprinkles on a baking sheet

8. Bake for 20 minutes, until cookies are golden brown.

Cuccidati's topped with rainbow sprinkles on a baking sheet fresh out of the oven

Expert Tips

  • Consistency of Filling: Make sure that the fig filling has a spreadable consistency. If it’s too dry, you can add a tad more honey or a small amount of orange juice to achieve the desired texture.
  • Roll Out Dough Evenly: To ensure that the cookies bake uniformly and have a consistent texture, aim for an even thicken when rolling out the dough.
  • Experiment with Shapes: While traditional shapes are common, don’t hesitate to get creative with your cuccidati cookie designs. Braids, twists, and cut-out shapes can all add a unique touch.
  • Avoid Overbaking: Cuccidati cookies are typically baked until golden, but be cautious not to overbake them. They can dry out quickly, so keep a close eye on them as they approach the recommended baking time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Store Cuccidati?

Cuccidati can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for no more than two days after baking. After Day 2, they can also be kept in the refrigerator for up to three additional days. Allow them to come back to room temperature before serving.

Can I Make The Filling Ahead Of Time?

Yes, making the fig filling in advance is a great way to save time when making cuccidati. Preparing the filling a day before assembling the cookies allows the flavors to meld and makes the assembly process smoother.

Can I Add Extra Filling?

Yes, I like to put extra filling in the center so I get a really good taste of the figs.

Can I Make Cuccidati Cookies Gluten-Free?

Yes, you can make this cookie recipe gluten-free by using a gluten-free flour blend in the dough.

Serving Suggestions

  • Holiday Dessert Spread: Arrange cuccidati cookies on a festive dessert platter along with other holiday treats.
  • After-Dinner Treat: Serve cuccidati cookies as an elegant after-dinner treat. Pair them with espresso, coffee, or a dessert wine.
  • Gifts and Party Favors: Bundle a few cuccidati cookies in decorative boxes or bags to give as homemade gifts during the holiday season or special occasions.
  • Tea Time: Enjoy cuccidati cookies alongside a cup of your favorite tea for a relaxing mid-day treat. The sweet and slightly chewy texture of these cookies pair well with various tea flavors.

Recipe Variations

Looking for some recipe variations? Here are some simple ways to customize these cookies to your liking:

  • Chocolate Drizzle: After baking, drizzle the cooled cuccidati cookies with melted dark or white chocolate.
  • Spiced Filling: Enhance the flavor complexity of the filling by adding a pinch of ground cloves, nutmeg, or allspice.
  • Nutty Blend: Mix different types of nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, and pistachios, in the filling for a varied and interesting texture. Each nut brings its own unique flavor to the mix.
  • Nut-Free Option: You can replace the nuts in the filling with seeds, like pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds. This modification keeps the crunchy texture of the filling.

Ways To Use Leftover Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this Cuccidati recipe, you might like to consider using them in any of these recipes:

Cuccidati's topped with rainbow sprinkles on a dessert stand

Enjoy!


Recipe

Cuccidati – Sicilian Fig Cookies

Prep: 1 hour
Cook: 20 minutes
Cool: 10 minutes
Total: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 48 cookies
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.

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

  • 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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32 Comments

  1. 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

    1. 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

  2. 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.

    1. Hi Annamaria,
      I’ve seen cuccidati also called cuccidrati and I believe they are the same cookie or very similar. I have never made a cassata before and so I don’t have a personal recipe for it. However, I always trust recipes from David Lebovitz and noticed he has a cassata recipe he recommends. You can find it here – http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2014/06/making-cassata-alla-siciliana-ricotta-cake/ and here – http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Cassata-Ricotta-Cake . Hope this helps. If you make cassata, I’d love to hear how it turned out.
      Thanks,
      Joanie

  3. 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!

  4. 5 stars
    What an interesting way to use figs. I will definitely be giving this recipe a try. Thanks! 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    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!

    1. Thank you so much, Allie. The filling has so many wonderful flavors, I could eat it alone without the cookie. 🙂

  6. Dear Joanie, Your cuccidati look beautiful…I love that you made them. Just in time for the holidays…I will be pinning this for later. xo, Catherine

  7. LOVE that you made these! They bring back memories of childhood Christmases and plates upon plates of Italian cookies at my grandparents house. These were always a favorite as I love fruit filled cookies of any kind!

  8. These cookies look so pretty! I love that they are filled with fig (my favorite!) and the little sprinkles make them so adorable 🙂

  9. I wish I could have a couple of these right now. They looks awesome and I love figs!