Edible Gifts Part 4 - Cucidati! (Sicilian Fig Cookies)

Long before the fig met the Newton, it had a thing going on with the Cucidati.

Ghio's grandparents. Her grandmother passed this recipe down.
My Grandparents
Cucidati, it turns out, is the Sicilian name for Fig Cookies. Whatever you call them, they are, in fact, a traditional Sicilian Christmas cookie and my grandmother used to make them every year. You can probably see by the picture that my grandmother wasn't what anyone would call typical, at least not in that Sicilian "Nonie" sort of way. In fact, she wasn't terribly interested in cooking. She loved to bake though - and she loved these cookies enough to find a recipe and write it down. I'm so glad that someone in the family found it and passed it along.

I've updated it a bit seeing as how actual measurements are much easier to follow than "some walnuts" or "enough brandy." I also use a food processor, so I've added that. Naturally, the ingredients are organic. Many thanks to Sundance Natural Foods and Capella Market for staying stocked up with a variety of dried fruit. Figs are tough to find this year!

Cucidati Fig Cookies on a plate next to a cup of espresso
You can make the fig mixture up to 2 weeks in advance but it's not necessary. The time reflected in my estimate includes 2 hours for making the fig mixture.

I've made these with rice flour for my gluten-free friends and they are much more delicate, but the taste is still nice. If you try that, I recommend rolling them instead of pressing 2 cookies together.

Time: Approximately 4 hours
Yield: 40-50 cookies
Level: Average

Fig Filling
Figs, Dates and Raisins aresoe of the ingredents in Cucidati
1 ¼ cup finely chopped, dried, figs
½ cup chopped dates
½ cup chopped raisins
3 tbsp honey
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup brandy
1 ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I prefer the mini chips or chopped semi-sweet chocolate)
½ cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)

Remove the stems from the figs and cut them in half.
In the bowl of your food processor, combine the figs, raisins and dates. Process them on the pulse setting so they're finely chopped but not paste.
In a glass bowl, combine the fig mixture and add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the walnuts.
Chopped figs before being combined with other fruit.
Adding the walnut just before assembling the cucidati fig cookies
Stir the mixture well and cover it. When the liquid is absorbed, you can use it. If you are going to use it the same day, I recommend that you leave it at room temperature, refrigeration slows the process. If you're making it in advance, keep it refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Stir the mixture every day until you're ready to make the cookies.

Note: If you plan to add chopped walnuts to the mix, do so just before you make the cookies.

Cookie Dough
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 beaten eggs
1 tbsp milk
2 ½ cups flour (sifted)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp lemon juice
Crystallized sugar or sprinkles for decoration (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.
In another bowl, combine butter and ½ cup sugar. Gradually stir in remaining ½ cup sugar, eggs, milk, lemon juice. Add to flour mixture and blend thoroughly. Chill for ½ hour. Divide the dough in half and roll out separately on a floured surface. It should end up  1/8 “ thick.

Cut with a glass or circle cookie cutter. Place 1 teaspoon of fig mixture in the center of half of the circles (each cookie will require a top and bottom – 2 circles). Cut a large hole in the top circle and place sprinkles in the hole. Press the top and bottom together with fork tines to seal (if necessary). Alternatively, you might like the rolled cookies. Surprisingly, you wont have to change the recipe. You get double the cookies and they cook for the same amount of time. Like the others, look after 12 minutes until you know how your oven performs.

rolled cucidati fig cookiesCucidati Fig Cookies in the ovenCucidati Fig Cookies cooling on a wire rack

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Grease cookie sheets or use parchment paper.
Bake 12-15 minutes until slightly brown on edges. Let stand 5 minutes on a wire rack.


  1. These look wonderful! I love the pictures, especially of your Grandparents!