Cuccidati cookies are the best little Italian Christmas cookies. They are made with a from scratch shortcrust dough that is soft and buttery, stuffed with a fig filling, and covered with a sweet glaze then topped with festive sprinkles.
While these traditional Italian cookies resemble fig newtons, don’t get it confused! They are so decadent, having just the right amount of sweetness. They would make a great addition to your holiday cookie tray during this time of the year. Plus, most do not bake fig-stuffed cookies so it would be something out of ordinary instead of Amish sugar cookies or turtle thumbprint cookies.
- all-purpose flour – measure your flour by scooping it into the measuring cup, then leveling with a knife. Too much flour can ruin baked goods.
- granulated sugar.
- baking powder – be sure it hasn’t expired. Baking powder makes cookies rise.
- unsalted butter – keep the butter cold until you are ready to use it.
- salt and vanilla extract – brings out the other flavors.
- large eggs – bring to room temperature before mixing.
- dried figs – Mission figs are the best and we do not recommend using fresh figs. You can find these in the produce section or baking aisle at the grocery store.
- dates – some like to use raisins instead or a combination of both.
- orange zest – when zesting the orange peel, be careful to not zest into the white rind, it’s very bitter.
- orange marmalade
- sweet Marsala wine
- powdered sugar and heavy cream
- Nonpareils – for decorating.
For a full list of ingredients and their measurements, 📋 please view my printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
We love topping these fig-filled cookies with a simple glaze and colored sprinkles.
Substitutions and Variations
- Other dried fruit – the filling can be made many different ways, so feel free to experiment with other dried fruits.
- Nuts – any variety or combination can be used.
Step 1: Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt to the food processor. Pulse a few times to mix. The dough blade works the best!
Step 2: Place the cold butter cubes into the dry ingredients and pulse until they are pea-sized.
Step 3: Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix until cookie dough forms.
Step 4: Lightly flour your work surface and turn the dough out of the processor. Divide dough into two sections using a sharp knife. Wrap each section in plastic wrap and press into a disc. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
Step 5: Swap the blade out for the standard food processing blade. Add the dried figs, nuts, and dates. Chop until small even pieces form.
Step 6: Add the marmalade, orange zest, and wine to the fig mixture. Pulse until a thick paste forms and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Pro Tip: Keep your work area floured. This makes handling the dough easier and keeps it from being a sticky mess.
Step 7: Once chilled, unwrap each dough disc one at a time and divide each one in half. Keep the remaining dough covered and chilled while working. You should have 4 sections total. Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper that is lightly floured. Add a strip of plastic wrap over top and use a floured rolling pin to roll into a 6×14 inch rectangle, then remove the plastic wrap.
Step 8: Divide the fig filling into 4 sections. Shape each section of filling into a log, long enough to stretch the length of the dough. Place the fig log in the center.
Step 9: Fold one side of the dough over the filling, and repeat for the other side (the long sides).
Step 10: Flip it over so the log seam is down and press gently to seal. If the dough is soft, chill for 15 minutes or until it is firm again.
Step 11: Slice the log into 1 inch pieces on the diagonal to make the cookies. Place them 1 inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Step 12: Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees until the bottom edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack if desired. Repeat for the second batch and so on.
Step 13: Whisk the powdered sugar and cream in a small bowl. Add just enough cream so it’s thick, but smooth.
Step 14: Dip the top of the Sicilian fig cookies into the glaze and allow the excess to drip off.
Step 15: Add rainbow sprinkles and allow them to set for 15-30 minutes.
SERVE: Once the glaze has set, serve or store.
Recipe Tips for Cuccidati
- The outer cookie part is lighter and more airy than traditional cookie dough.
- Make sure the dough is chilled. The cold butter keeps the outer crust nice and flakey, plus it’s easier to work with.
Long ago before food processors, Italians would make these traditional Sicilian Christmas cookies by getting the filling minced by their local butcher shops. – Chicago Tribune
Cuccidati are traditional Italian fig cookies that are often associated with holiday celebrations, especially during Christmas and Easter. The name “cuccidati” is Sicilian, and these cookies are particularly popular in Southern Italy.
The cookies are typically made with a sweet and spiced fig filling, which may include ingredients such as dried figs, nuts (such as almonds or walnuts), honey, cinnamon, and sometimes orange zest. The filling is encased in a buttery pastry dough, and the cookies are often shaped into a log or cylinder before being baked. Then they are topped with icing or powdered sugar for added sweetness. The exact recipes for Sicilian cuccidati can vary from region to region and family to family, but the combination of sweet fig filling and tender pastry is a common trait of cuccidati.
Once they are set, these delicious cookies will keep for 4-5 days on the counter in an airtight container or you can freeze them for 3 months.
If you tried this Cuccidati Fig Filled Cookie Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the 📝 comments below.
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter cold and cut into cubes
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 14 oz. dried figs
- ½ cup walnuts
- ½ cup dates or raisins
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- ⅓ cup orange marmalade
- ¼ cup sweet Marsala wine
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons heavy cream
- Nonpareils for decorating
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pulse a few times to mix together. (I like to use the dough blade for this recipe.)
- Add cold cubes of butter to the food processor and pulse until the butter is broken down into pea-sized pieces.
- Add the vanilla and eggs to the food processor and mix until the dough comes together.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into two sections. Wrap each section in plastic wrap and press into a disc. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour, and up to overnight.
- Place the standard metal blade into the food processor. Add dried figs, walnuts, and dates to the food processor and chop until small, even pieces form.
- Add orange zest, marmalade, and Marsala wine. Pulse until the filling forms a chunky “paste”. Set aside.
- Assembly Instructions:
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- When the dough is chilled (it will be firm all the way through each disc), unwrap one disc at a time. Divide each disc in half. Keep the other sections covered and refrigerated while working with one section of dough. (You will have 4 sections of dough total).
- Place the dough on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. Set a strip of plastic wrap over the dough and roll into a 6” x 14” rectangle. Remove the plastic wrap.
- Divide the fig filling mixture into 4 sections. Shape one section of the filling into a log shape, long enough to stretch the length of the dough rectangle. Place the filling log in the center of the dough rectangle.
- Fold the dough over the log from one side and then the other, flipping the cookie log seam side down and pressing gently to seal the seam.
- The dough should still be firm; if it is soft, refrigerate for 15 minutes or so until firm.
- Slice the log into 1” sections on the diagonal to make the cookies. Place cookies, spaced 1” apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes or until bottom edges are golden brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before decorating.
- Make glaze by whisking together powdered sugar and enough cream (or milk) to make a thick, but smooth glaze.
- Dip the top of each cookie into the glaze, letting the excess drip off. Sprinkle the wet glaze with colorful nonpareils and allow glaze to set (15-30 minutes).