Italian fig cookies, also known as cuccidati, are a one of a kind traditional Italian cookie! The filling is made from a fragrant mix of dried figs, raisins, walnuts, apricot jam, and a blend of warm spices. The cookie is wrapped in a soft, pastry-like dough, then topped with icing and nonpareil sprinkles. Italian fig cookies are the perfect cookies to make for Christmas and the holidays.
For the Filling
- 12 oz dried figs (about 20 whole figs, stems removed)
- 3/4 c raisins (check for stems)
- 3/4 c walnuts
- 1/3 c apricot preserves
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- Zest of 1 medium orange
For the Dough
- 3 1/2 c all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 c granulated sugar
- 1 c cold butter
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 - 3/4 c water
For the Icing
- 1 c powdered sugar/confectioners sugar
- 1 Tbsp milk
- Rainbow nonpareil sprinkles
For the Filling
- In the bowl of a food processor, add all of the ingredients for the filling. Pulse until a smooth, thick paste forms. All ingredients should be very well blended and there should be no large pieces of fruit or nuts.
- Cover and set aside.
For the Dough
- To make the dough, start by adding the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl.
- Whisk together until combined.
- Using a box grater, shred the cold butter over a small piece of parchment paper. (see notes)
- Add the butter into the bowl of dry ingredients and gently toss the shredded butter until coated.
- In a small bowl, add the eggs and beat slightly with a fork. Add the vanilla extract and stir.
- Pour the egg mixture into the flour and butter mixture.
- Add the water, starting with 1/2 cup. Gently stir the wet ingredients into the flour (a Danish whisk works well here).
- If the dough is looking dry, add a little more water. Be careful not to add too much - the dough should never become wet or sticky.
- Using your hands, begin to bring the dough together into a large ball.
- Wrap the ball in a piece of plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for 1 hour.
Making the Cookies
- Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Add the fig filling to a piping bag or large plastic zip lock bag. Cut a 1/2" opening at the tip of the bag.
- When ready, prepare a surface for rolling the dough. Take a portion of dough and place it on a well floured surface.
- Roll the dough to 1/8" thick in a long rectangle shape that is at least 5-6" wide.
- Using as sharp knife, trim the dough to approximately 5-6" wide and 10-12" long. It's OK if the dough is not as long - width is really most important here.
- Leaving a 1/2" edge on the side of the dough, pipe the filling down the full length of the dough area.
- With floured hands, use the edge to roll the dough over the piped fig mixture until it meets the other side of the dough surface.
- Cut along the seam and pull the roll away from the remaining rolled dough.
- Rotate the cookie roll so that the seam is on the bottom. Gently press to seal.
- Cut into 1 1/2" pieces.
- Repeat steps 6 - 10 with the remaining rolled dough. For the second roll, there may be a small amount of excess dough on the edge, which should be trimmed.
- Place cookies onto the prepared baking sheet. Leave about 1 1/2 inch of space in between each cookie.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes or until very lightly golden brown.
- Let set on the tray for 5 minutes than transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.
- While the cookies are cooling, make the glaze.
- In a small bowl combine the powdered sugar and milk until completely smooth.
- Add the icing to a piping bag or zip lock bag. Cut a small amount off the tip.
- Drizzle the icing on top of the cookies without letting it drip down the sides showing the fig filling.
- Top with colored sprinkles such as rainbow nonpareils.
Recipe by Owlbbaking.com
I find using a box grater to shred the butter is easiest. If you don't have a box grater or you'd like to use a more traditional method, feel free to add the cold butter into the flour mixture by hand or by using a food processor. You can cut in the butter by cutting it into small pieces and working it into the flour by using a pastry blender. With a food processor, cut the butter into small pieces and pulse with the flour mixture until it resembles course crumbs.
These cookies can be made a couple of days in advance but note, the color of the sprinkles will begin to bleed into the icing over time. If you need to make these further in advance, freeze the cookies (un-iced) and ice the day of.
Dried figs often form a sugary, crystallized, outer coating. It's totally fine and safe to eat! The crystallized sugar is actually very flavorful, but can be rinsed off with water if you want.
Keywords: Italian fig cookies, cuccidati, cucidati, Sicilian, Christmas cookies, fig cookies, holiday cookies, Italian Christmas cookies, traditional, authentic, dried figs