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The Best “Cuccidati” Italian Fig Cookies

December 14, 2020

The Best “Cuccidati” Italian Fig Cookies


It just wouldn’t be Christmas at our house, or any Sicilian house for that matter, without Cuccidati, Italian Fig cookies. These wonderful treats may just be the most famous of all Italian cookies. Do not even think about comparing these to Fig Newtons. Cuccidati are a whole different kind of “good”. The filling is made with figs, dates, oranges, jam, and Brandy. They are simply delicious!

Cuccidati are Italian fig filled cookies with white frosting

There are several different recipes for cuccidati in Sicily. The versions are as varied as the towns they come from. Some have a harder or crispier dough and others are softer. Some have nuts, some use jam to sweeten the filling, others use honey. Even the traditional shape of the cookies is very regional. Although there are slight differences from one family to another, they are all delicious and they are all authentic, because they come from recipes that have been handed down for generations.

What they all have in common is the basic fig filing. The use of a food processor makes the job of grinding the fruit into a paste much easier! Years ago, the butchers in each town would shut down for one day a year and clean out all the meat grinders. Then they would open their shop, so that the women in town could come and grind their dried fruits and nuts for the holiday cuccidati.

Italian fig cookies are scattered on the table with ornaments

Nonna’s Cookies

I am going to share our family recipe with you. This is the recipe that I remember my grandmother making, what my mother has made for years and what I hope that generations to come share with their families. If you know me, you know that one of the main reasons that I started this blog was to memorialize our family recipes and this is an incredibly special recipe. Everyone has been waiting for me to post this. All except my niece Juliana. She got the recipe straight from Nonna and made them before I could get this posted (below)! They look delicious Juliana. You made Nonna proud!

Making memories

My mother and I made cuccidati together this year.  I really love baking with her!  Not only I am learning her technique, but it means that we are spending several hours together talking and reminiscing, or she talks while I listen, as she shares stories about her life before us or about family that I hardly knew or never met.  I do not even notice the time passing and before you know it we are done! 

We bake cookies in mom’s basement kitchen, which is where all our family meals are prepared. Growing up I just assumed that everyone had a kitchen in their basement. All my Italian friends did. I was really surprised when I found out that there were families that actually cooked in their kitchen! The one that everyone sees! On the first floor of their house!

The Best “Cuccidati” Italian Fig Cookies

Let me tell you about our cuccidati. Our recipe combines figs, dates, raisins, oranges, vanilla, jam and Brandy. An awesome combination! This is all wrapped in a soft cookie that is frosted with a sweet white glaze. We do not put sprinkles on our cookies. But you are welcome to decorate yours if you like. The shape of our cookies is a little different then most I have seen. We roll the dough into a log and then cut the cookies at an angle. The finished product is a soft fruity cookie that tastes like Christmas!

Making the Best Cuccidati, Italian Fig Cookies

These cookies look harder to make than they really are.

FIg FillingThe Filling

• Prepare your filling a day or two ahead of time so that the flavors have time to really marinate.
• Juice one orange and shave off the rind. Set the juice and the rind aside.
• Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and process until a it forms a paste.
• Refrigerate until you are ready to make your cookies.

The Dough

cuccidati dough ready to be rolled out

• Combine the flour and baking powder and set aside.
• Beat the eggs in a mixer.
• Add the Crisco and beat for a couple of minutes.
• Then add the sugar, vanilla and milk and beat for two more minutes.
• Add the flour one cup at a time.
• The dough should be soft but not sticky.
• If it is sticky add flour one tablespoon at a time.
• On a floured surface start a small portion of dough and roll into a 10″ log.
• Using a rolling pin flatten the log so that it is about 4 inches wide.

cuccidati dough which has been rolled out

• Mound the filling in the center of the log along the whole length.

• Carefully fold one side of the dough over the filling and roll over the other side of the dough forming a log again and sealing the filling in the center.

cuccidati which have been sliced on the bias and ready for the oven
  • Cut the log into 2″ long pieces while holding your knife at an angle.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
  • To make the frosting combine softened butter, confectioners sugar, almond extract and milk until the frosting is thick but pourable.

Other Italian favorites:

Nonna’s Pineapple Cookies

Pani Di Cena

Anginetti Cookies – Italian Wedding Cookies

Other desserts perfect or the holidays:

Easy Salted Caramel Swirl Cheesecake with Graham Cracker and Almond Crust

Cuccidati Italian Fig Cookies

The Best “Cuccidati” Italian Fig Cookies

Cuccidati are a soft cookie filled with a sweet fruity fig filling, traditionally made during the Christmas season.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 2 hrs
Cook Time 1 hr
Filling should be made in adance 2 d
Total Time 2 d 3 hrs
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 120 cookies
Calories 107 kcal


  • Food Processor, Mixer


  • 6 cups Flour
  • 7 tsps. Baking Powder
  • 6 Eggs
  • 1 lb. Shortening
  • 2 1/2 cups Sugar
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 2 tsps. Vanilla


  • 1 lb. Figs Dried
  • 1 lb. Dates Dried
  • 1 cup Raisins optional
  • 1 Orange Peel and juice only
  • 2 tbsp. Vanilla extract
  • 1 shot Brandy or more if you like
  • 2 tbsp. Orange Marmalade


  • 2 ½ cups Confectioners Sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Butter softened
  • 1/2 tsp Almond Extract
  • 1/4 cup Milk


  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Combine baking powder with the flour and set aside.
  • Beat eggs on medium speed with a mixer.
  • Add shortening to the eggs and continue to beat.
  • Add the sugar to the egg mixture. Beat until the sugar is fully incorporated.
  • Add the milk and vanilla and mix well.
  • While you are continuing to beat the mixture, add the flour, one cup at a time, making sure to incorporate it between additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl often. The dough should be soft but not sticky.
  • Work with one small mound of dough at a time.
  • Lightly flour you work surface and roll the dough into a log about 10" – 12"long.
  • Using a rolling pin, flatten the log to about 3-4 inches wide.
  • Using a teaspoon, mound the filling in the center of the log along the whole length of the dough.
  • Carefully fold one side of the dough over the filling and roll over the other side of the dough forming a log again and sealing the filling in the center. You may need to lift the dough up with a dough scraper to get it started.
  • Using a serrated knife, cut the cookies to about 2" long, at a angle.. The cookies will spread as they bake.
  • Arrange the cookies 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until they are golden brown.
  • Cool completely and frost by dipping the cookie in the frosting and spreading the frosting over the entire cookie with your finger

Fig Filling

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and process until a paste is formed.
  • The filling should be made 2 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
  • The filling can be stored in the refrigerator or frozen for several months.


  • Mix the softened butter with the confectioners sugar.
  • Add the almond extract and milk and mix until the sugar is completely mixed in and the frosting is pourable but is not liquid.


Serving: 120gCalories: 107kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 1gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 36mgPotassium: 59mgFiber: 1gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 24IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 26mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Italian, Fig, Cookies
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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