Italian Fig Cookies, traditionally known as Cucidati, have become a new Christmas tradition this year. These are the fanciest, most delicious not-too-sweet fig cookies that will wow your guests this holiday season.
This giveaway has been sponsored by Valley Fig. I was sent a California Fig Care Package purpose creating this recipe, but all opinions are my own. #ad #VFigFeed #ValleyFigHolidays #12DaysofChristmas #giveaway
While I never met her, I’ve heard many stories about my great grandmother Florence who used to make do with very little. At Christmastime, she would make very simple cookies using a raisin filling wrapped in pie dough called Brambles. My great aunt Muriel passed them down to other members of the family and they are part of the Gile family lore, but not often made as they are a labor of love.
This recipe for Italian Fig Cookies remind me of Brambles in a way, but the flavors are more elaborate since the filling is loaded with figs, dates, golden raisins, almonds, honey, orange marmalade and cinnamon. The dough for Cucidati is so lovely to work with and it’s tender to the bite, too. I was afraid the thick fruit filling would ooze out of the cookies and make a mess in the oven and was pleasantly surprised to see that wasn’t the case. Baking these cookies is guaranteed to make your home smell like Christmas!
Eating two cups of fruit each day is recommended for a healthy diet, and figs are an excellent choice. They are loaded with dietary fiber, potassium and calcium. Plus, figs are also an incredible source of antioxidants that are believed to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. (Check out this “Eating for a Healthy Heart” article from the FDA.
When I’m putting together my Christmas cookie spread, I choose several simple to make recipes such as Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies, Funfetti Crinkle Cookies, or Chocolate Peppermint Cookies. Then, I select one more challenging but impressive recipe, like these Italian Fig Cookies. These are a bit time consuming, but so worth it!
Italian Fig Cookies (Cucidati) Shopping List
- Unsalted Butter
- Sun Maid California Mission-Figs
- Pitted Dates
- Golden Raisins
- Candied Orange Peel
- Blanched Almonds
- Dark Spiced Rum
From the pantry: all-purpose flour, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, powdered sugar
Items you may also need:
- Stand Mixer
- Mixing and Prep Bowls, Liquid and Dry Measuring Cups
- Food Processor
- Baking Sheets and Silpat or Parchment Paper
- Plastic Wrap
- Spoonula, Rolling Pin, and Pastry Brush
For a list of some of my favorite items to use when cooking, please visit my Kitchen Resource page.
How to Make Italian Fig Cookies
- Prepare the dough ahead of time and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Chop the figs in half and remove the hard stem.
- Add the filling ingredients to the food processor and pulse until combined.
- Roll out the dough into rectangular strips.
- Spoon the filling down the center of the dough strips.
- Roll up and place on a cookie sheet seam side down.
- Cut into 1-1/2 pieces.
- Bake at 350-degrees F for 15 minutes until golden brown.
- Make the icing with fresh squeezed orange juice and powdered sugar.
Pro Tip: If the figs are sticking to your knife, run it under hot water every now and then.
Variations for Italian Fig Cookies
I found many variations for Christmas Fig Cookies, Cucidati, and Sicilian Fig Cookies when I was doing research online. Because we test all our recipes, we recommend that you make them once just as it is without substitutions or changes. Sometimes variations can go awry. Making our Italian Fig Cookies as we have tested them will yield the best results. If you really want to get creative, here are some ideas for variations that might work well. (Please note, we have not tested these variations).
- If you prefer a less sweet cookie, omit the honey in the filling recipe.
- Instead of orange juice, use lemon juice, along with the zest, to play up the citrus notes in the cookies.
- If you do not want to use the rum, substitute it for more orange juice, but add some additional spices. Taste the mixture to see if you need to adjust and add other spices such as nutmeg and allspice or additional cinnamon to make up for the flavor.
About California Valley Figs
Some of the items below contain affiliate links; I am a participant a variety of affiliate programs, including in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. However, I only promote things that I love and think you will love, too. For more information, please see our Disclosure Policy.
Did you know that California produces 100% of US dried figs? California farmers started growing figs commercially in 1885 and today Golden Figs and Mission Figs are the two most popular varieties grown in the state. There are so many ways to use heart-healthy figs! Check out the Valley Fig website for more recipes ideas.
More Delicious Cookies:
Here are some of our favorite cookie recipes that are perfect for the holidays:
- Homemade Twix Cookies
- Peppermint Sandwich Cookies
- Chocolate Almond Biscotti
- Pumpkin Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies
Italian Fig Cookies
Make Italian Fig Cookies a part of your Christmas tradition this year! Don’t let the number of ingredients and steps deter you from making these Italian Fig Cookies. Make the dough ahead of time to shorten the process (it’s easier to work with when it’s cold anyhow). The filling all goes into your food process and comes together easily. These goodies are worth the time and effort!
Italian Fig Cookies
For the dough:
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the fig filling:
- 1 cup dried diced Calimyrna or Mission figs stems removed
- 1 cup chopped pitted dates finely chopped
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup orange juice, fresh squeezed about 1 orange
- 1/4 cup orange marmalade
- 1/3 cup unblanched almonds
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons dark spiced rum
For the glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar sifted
- 2 to 3 teaspoons orange juice, fresh squeezed just enough to make a glaze you can slowly drizzle
- Sprinkles for decoration if desired
For the dough:
- Add the flour, baking powder, sugars, and salt into a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse to mix.
- Add a little of the butter at a time, pulsing in between to combine.
- Add the eggs and vanilla and pulse until the dough forms a ball.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and divide in half. Wrap each piece in plastic and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
For the filling:
- Toast the unblanched almonds in a skillet for a couple of minutes until you smell their nuttiness. Remove from the heat.
- Remove any hard stems from the figs and cut into a quarters.
- Into the food processor, add the prepared figs, pitted dates, toasted almonds, orange marmalade, golden raisins, candied orange peel, honey, dark rum and cinnamon.
- Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F.
- Roll the dough into a large rectangle and add the fig filling down the middle.
- Roll the dough into a long log, placing it seam-side down.
- Cut the dough into 1-1/2" pieces and place onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes until the bottoms are golden brown.
- Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
For the glaze
- In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the powdered sugar and orange juice. Whisk until the glaze is thickened. If it is too thin, add a little more powdered sugar. If it is too thick, add a little more milk.
- Brush the top of each cooled cookie with the glaze. Add nonpareils or other sprinkles onto the top and let the glaze harden.
Tips for Storing and Making Ahead
- Once the glaze has hardened, store the cookies in an airtight container. Use parchment paper to layer the cookies.
- The dough can be made a day or two ahead, if desired. Be sure the dough is wrapped well in plastic wrap before refrigerating.
- Finished unglazed cookies can be frozen for a couple of weeks, but the glaze should be put on after they thaw.