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Cuccidati: Italian Fig Cookies

They are called cuccidati or buccellati in Italy, and hail from Sicily. The dried figs, nuts and citrus tell the story of the island’s many influences, from the Middle East to Greece.
by Mary DiSomma |
Italian Fig Cookies

This recipe is from my grandmother, which likely came from her grandmother and from her grandmother before that. They are called cuccidati or buccellati in Italy, and hail from Sicily. The dried figs, nuts and citrus tell the story of the island’s many influences, from the Middle East to Greece.

Making cuccidati during the holidays gave my mother so much joy that I was eager to continue the family tradition myself. It has become my signature cookie and the star of my cookie tins. Meanwhile, my cookbook, Gift of Cookies: Recipes to Share with Family & Friends, features 130 of my favorite cookie recipes. Purchase a copy on my website — marydisomma.com/shop/cookbooks — and I’ll donate 100% of the proceeds to Peoria’s OSF Children’s Hospital of Illinois. Just enter code OSFCHILDREN at checkout. Help me help the children of Peoria! 

On to the recipe.

Cuccidati: Italian Fig Cookies

Italian Fig Cookies

Prep time 1 hour. Bake time 20-25 minutes. Total time 3 hours

First, the INGREDIENTS
(for 10 dozen cookies): 

  • Prep Time1 hr
  • Cook Time20 min
  • Perform Time1 hr 40 min
  • Total Time3 hr
  • Yield10 dozen
  • Cuisine
    • Italian
  • Course
    • Dessert
  • Cooking Method
    • Baking

Dough

Dough

  • 8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1½ cups (12-ounces) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 8 large eggs plus 1 additional (if needed)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Fig filling

  • 1-pound dried figs, stems removed, chopped
  • 2 cups raisins
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup honey
  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • Zest of 1 orange

Icing

  • 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract, optional
  • Nonpareils

Process

Prepare the dough

1

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and baking powder. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Add 8 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually add dry ingredients to butter mixture. If the dough is too dry, add the additional egg. Divide dough into four portions. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.

Prepare the fig filling

2

To prepare the fig filling, use the grinder attachment on an electric stand mixer and grind figs, walnuts and raisins. Place in a mixing bowl. Add honey, orange juice and orange zest. Mix well.

Shape the dough

3

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured work area, roll out each portion of dough into a 16-by 6-inch rectangle. Spread approximately 1 cup of filling lengthwise down the center of each. Starting at a long side, fold dough over filling, then fold the other side over the top. Pinch seams and edges to seal.

Bake the dough

4

Cut each rectangle on a slight diagonal into 1-inch strips. Place cookies on parchment-lined sheet pans and bake in preheated oven for approximately 25 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove pan from oven and allow cookies to set for 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to cooling racks.

Glaze and decorate the cookies

5

Sift confectioners’ sugar into a large mixing bowl. Add water as needed to create a glaze. Clear vanilla is optional. Dip cookies into glaze. Sprinkle with nonpareils. When glaze has dried, transfer cookies to an airtight container.

Enjoy!

Mary DiSomma

Mary DiSomma

our chef lives in Oak Park and Cuba, Illinois. She is the author and publisher of A Gift of Cookies: Recipes to Share with Family & Friends, a philanthropist, podiatrist, entrepreneur, wife to Bill and mom to four adult children.
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