Cuccidati are Sicilian Fig Cookies made with figs, nuts and spices all tucked inside a shortbread cookie dough. I grew up making them every Christmas and it’s a tradition I’ve kept going with my family.
The outer cookie is a sweet pastry dough coated with a sugar glaze and decorated with colorful sprinkles. There are a few different ways you can make the filling. My mother for example likes to add Rum or Grand Marnier and on occasion she will use apricots instead of dates and even sometimes will add in bits of chocolate. It’s fun to see how each family makes their cuccidati and how creative everyone gets.
All-purpose flour 2 1/2 cups
Granulated sugar 1/4 cup
Baking powder 2 1/2 teaspoons
Unsalted butter 1 cup (room temperature)
Eggs 2 each
Vanilla Extract 1 teaspoon
Milk 1/4 cup (whatever percentage you have available)
Figs, dried 2 cups chopped
Dates, pitted 1 cup chopped (or Apricots)
An Orange (for zest and juice) (or Grand Marnier, 1/4 cup)
Walnuts 2 cups chopped (or Almonds)
Honey 1 cup
Powdered sugar, sifted 1 cup
Water 2 to 3 teaspoons
Sprinkles for decoration
Prepare the pastry:
Combine flour, sugar and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer beat in butter, eggs, vanilla and milk. Divide the dough in half and form each into a small square. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Prepare the filling:
In a food processor add figs, dates and walnuts + zest and juice of 1 orange. Process until all evenly chopped. Add in honey and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the pastry dough from the refrigerator and allow to warm up for about 10 minutes before rolling it out. On a lightly floured surface or parchment paper roll 1 piece of dough at a time into an 8-inch wide strip about 1/4-inch thick. Cut each into half forming long strips. Lay the strips onto a work surface and brush the top inch of each with cold water.
Place 1/4 of the filling down the center of the strips. Next, fold the edge of the dough over the filling and press to seal the edges. Repeat with the other side of the dough forming a tube with the filling in the center. Make sure the edges are sealed and well secured.
Place the filled strips seem down onto the baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and immediately slice each strip diagonally (using a sharp knife) into 1-inch pieces. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.
Prepare the Glaze:
Combine powdered sugar and water in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Brush over the cookies and decorate with colored sprinkles.
Keywords: dessert, cookies, cuccidati sicilian fig cookies, pastries