Imagine a glorified Fig Newton with sprinkles, and you’ll get the idea behind these festive holiday cookies. Though cucidati are much-loved in Sicily where they originate, the crumbly, lightly sweetened spiced fig and nut cookies are not well-known in the United States, outside of Italian-American communities. It takes a little time to create them, but your efforts will be rewarded. For extra flair, be sure to top the finished cookies with vanilla glaze and colorful sprinkles.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with this easy-to-make recipe for Cucidati Italian Christmas Fig Cookies.
1. Info for Cucidati Italian Christmas Fig Cookies
- Cook Time: 45 min
- Total Time: 45 min
- Servings: 24
- Calories: 169.28 kcal
2. Ingredients for Cucidati Italian Christmas Fig Cookies
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened, cut into pieces)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract (for dough)
- 1 large egg
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (for dough)
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt (for dough)
- 1 cup dried figs
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup almonds
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)
- 2 Tbsp. orange marmalade
- 1 1/2 tsp. honey
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or for 1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, use 1/8 tsp. each ground allspice and ground nutmeg)
- 1/4 tsp. salt (for filling)
- Pinch black pepper
- All-purpose flour (for rolling)
- 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/8 tsp. salt (for glaze)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract (for glaze)
- 3 Tbsp. milk
- Rainbow candy sprinkles (nonpareils)
Place the butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and continue beating until the mixture is light, about 1 minute.
Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the bowl and beat until a smooth dough forms, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Divide the dough in half. Turn each half onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Shape the dough into 3/4-inch-thick rectangles, then wrap them tightly. Refrigerate dough until firm enough to roll and hold its shape, about 1 hour.
Trim any stems from the figs. Place the figs, raisins, walnuts, almonds, chocolate, marmalade, honey, spices, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the mixture repeatedly until no large pieces of fruit or nuts remain and the mixture clumps together like a dough. Do not over-process into a paste.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove one chilled dough portion from the refrigerator. Unwrap and turn it onto a well-floured work surface. Gently roll dough into a very thin rectangle, roughly 5 inches wide and 12 inches long. The dough should be slightly under 1/4 inch thick.
With clean, dampened hands, take half of the dried fruit mixture and shape it into a log down the center of the dough rectangle. Working very carefully, as the dough is delicate, begin rolling the dough around the log of filling, encasing it completely and finishing with the seam side down. If there are any tears, simply pinch them together.
Using a sharp serrated knife, slice the log into 12 cookies, each 1 inch thick. Arrange the cookies “standing up” on the baking sheet, so that the cut sides are vertical.
Repeat shaping with remaining cookie dough and filling.
Bake the cookies on middle rack of oven until they are light golden brown on the bottoms, 15-17 minutes.
Check to see that cookies are done. Remove from oven or add time as needed.
Set pan on a cooling rack and let cookies cool completely, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze.
Place the powdered sugar, salt, vanilla, and milk in a mixing bowl. Whisk until the glaze is completely smooth.
Once cookies are completely cool, dip the top of each cookie into the glaze, taking care to not coat the fruit filling. Sprinkle each cookie with a pinch of candy sprinkles. Let cookies stand for at least 30 minutes to set the glaze, then enjoy. Leftover cookies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days. Unglazed cookies may be frozen up to 3 months; simply thaw and glaze.