Cuccidati {Sicilian Fig Cookies}

I should be sleeping right now but I couldn’t let one more day pass without sharing this recipe for cuccidati, Sicilian fig cookies, that adorn display cases at Italian bakeries throughout Brooklyn during Christmas time. We’re in the midst of our first snow storm here in upstate New York, and it’s supposed to be a whopper—16 to 24 inches, possibly 30 inches in some parts of the Hudson Valley.

I’ve already used my brand new snow blower to clear the first six inches that fell, and imagine I’ll wake up to a winter wonderland since the snow’s falling at a rate of 2-3 inches an hour right now. So, if like me, you’re facing a snow day today (or whenever you read this), then it’s a perfect day to make cuccidati since they require some time and patience.

Cuccidati are basically homemade fig newtons—but with a twist.

Each of the components of the recipe are easy, so no major baking skills needed. It’s just what I call a busy recipe, the ingredient list for the filling is long and might feel fussy but I assure you everything called for here is essential. Full disclosure—I’ve omitted one ingredient, ground almonds due to a major nut allergy in my extended family.

Cuccidati {Sicilian Fig Cookies} | In Jennie’s Kitchen

The dough comes together in the food processor whereas a lot of recipes make it like traditional dough in a mixer. That would require softened butter and lengthy chilling time for the dough. Anything you can do to shorten an already involved recipe is a big win, so I gave cold butter a try and decided on the food processor to quickly work it into the flour. Worked like a charm and the dough just gets a brief chill while you prepare the filling.

Why did I make cuccidati after all my cookie tins had been packed and shipped to friends?

Well, one very special and important friend asked what I was going to make for him. I asked what he wanted and cuccidati was his request. David was Michael’s best man at our wedding. David has been a devoted friend ever since Michael died, and my friendship with him is something I cherish. We still talk about Michael as if he were here with us, and it’s never awkward. If the man wants cuccidati, you can bet I was making them for him.

Cuccidati {Sicilian Fig Cookies} | In Jennie’s Kitchen

David prefers cuccidati without icing or sprinkles. Funny enough, so does Virginia, although she won’t let icing on them stop her. I like them both ways, and find the sprinkles essential for Christmas time. If you prefer to skip the icing but want the nonpareils, brush the cookie tops with a beaten egg and add the sprinkles.

Do you have to use Marsala in cuccidati filling?

Yes. I really feel like this is a non-negotiable ingredient as it adds a distinct flavor. If you don’t feel like buying a whole bottle of Marsala wine, then any sweet wine would work (port would be nice). You can even use Lillet in a pinch. If you decide to keep them alcohol-free, you can try omitting the flour from the filling and my guess is you won’t need to replace the Marsala with an equal amount of another liquid. Do let me know if you give that a try or if you do replace the Marsala, and what you use so other folks can learn from your experiment.

It’s time for me to tuck in now. I’m afraid to look out the window and see how much snow has already accumulated again but very excited for the hot cocoa I intend to enjoy after clearing the driveway in the morning. Hope the world is treating you all gentle these days. Much peace & love—jennie.

Cuccidati {Sicilian Fig Cookies} | In Jennie’s Kitchen

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Cuccidati {Sicilian Fig Cookies}

5.0 from 1 reviews
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 32

Ingredients

  • For the dough
  • 1 ¾ cups (226 grams) all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) granulated natural cane sugar
  • Freshly grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Pinch of salt (omit if using salted butter)
  • 1 stick (112 grams) cold butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the filling
  • 1 cup (145 grams) dried mission figs, chopped
  • ⅔ cup (82 grams) raisins
  • ¼ cup (45 grams) chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) Marsala wine
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Freshly grated zest of ½ an orange
  • 2 tablespoons (40 grams) honey
  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated natural cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (16 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • For the glaze, if desired
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Nonpareil sprinkles, to decorate

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350Fº. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Make the dough: add the flour, sugar and lemon zest to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined. Add butter and pulse until it resembles a coarse meal. Add egg and vanilla. Pulse just until mixture forms a ball of dough. Wrap dough in waxed paper and chill while you prepare the filling (reserve food processor bowl).
  3. Make the filling: Add the figs, raisins and chocolate to the bowl of the food processor. Pulse until fruit and chocolate are coarsely chopped. Add remaining filling ingredients and pulse it forms a mostly smooth paste (it’s okay if it’s slightly chunky).
  4. Divide dough in half. Roll each piece into a 9-inch by 7-inch rectangle, then cut each piece in half lengthwise for a total of 4 rectangles.
  5. Divide the filling onto each piece of dough then spread down the center lengthwise. Fold outer edges of dough over filling and pinch ends closed. Turn dough over, with seam facing down, and cut each log into 8 equal pieces. Place cookies onto prepared baking sheets.
  6. Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, until bottoms are lightly golden, 15–20 minutes. Let cookies cool on baking sheets until firm enough to transfer to a wire rack. Let cool completely before icing.
  7. If icing cooking, in a small bowl, whisk confectioners’ sugar with a splash of vanilla and just enough water until thick and smooth (you want it to drape the cookies in a thick glaze). Spread icing over tops of cookies, then sprinkle with nonpareils, if desired.

3 Comments

  • Melissa

    The snow looked magical in your story last night, but I can see why you’d be excited to have a new snow blower! I was never a huge fan of fig newtons, but these look lovely.

  • Susy Slais

    My favorite cookies (minus the glaze . . . I’m not a big glaze/frosting person) in the whole world, since I love, love, love figs!!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year for you and the girls, Jennie!!! 🙂