Italian Fig Cookies Recipe (Cucidati)

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Italian Fig Cookies Recipe (Cucidati) are delicious citrus-scented butter cookies with a rich fig and nut filling decorated with a white glaze and colorful sprinkles. These tender Italian fig cookies are a delightful Christmas-time treat. This step-by-step photo guide will help you achieve the perfect Italian fig cookies every time!

fig cookies with glaze and sprinkles on a plate. One cookie cut in half.
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Enjoy more Italian cookie recipes–  Soft AMARETTI Cookies Sardinian RecipeBasic Italian Biscotti (Cantucci) DoughHeart Thumbprint Cookies Recipe with JamHomemade Italian Ladyfinger Recipe (Savoiardi), or Italian Butter Cookies Recipe (bakery style), and Italian Pinoli Cookies Recipe (pine nut).

Homemade Italian Fig Cookies Recipe

In Italian, we call them Buccellati or Cucciddati; in English, they are called Cucidati or Cuccidati. The word Cuccidati is pronounced coo-chi-dah-tee.

These tasty treats resemble homemade fig newtons cookies in their soft, tender butter cookie appearance. Rather than traditional cookie dough, we use pasta frolla (a rough pastry dough). The baked dough is soft with crisp edges and scented with orange zest. It is delightful!

They are typically served during Christmas and enjoyed yearly in bakeries across Italy. These Sicilian fig cookies are also famous in Sardegna. Every time my family buys a cookie tray from the bakery, you will find these delicious cookies.

This is the best Italian fig cookie recipe! Enjoy our family recipe for these Italian fig cookies and make memories baking them this holiday season. Enjoy these Italian Christmas Cookies any time of the year!

cucidati cookies on a ruffled cookie platter

Simple Ingredients (fig cookies)

pastry dough ingredients

Pasta Frolla (rough pastry dough)

  • All-purpose flour
  • Sugar
  • Egg
  • Cold Butter
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Orange zest (or lemon zest)- not pictured
fig filling ingredients

Filling Ingredients (fig filling)

  • Dried Figs
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts 
  • Pine nuts
  • Golden raisins (or dark raisins) 
  • Candied orange peel or lemon peel (or, fresh lemon or orange peel)
  • Orange juice (OR marsala wine, OR rum)
  • Orange marmalade 
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground nutmeg 
  • Salt
  • Ground anise (optional)
ingredients for icing and sprinkles

Sugar Glaze and Sprinkles

  • Milk
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Sprinkles (nonperails) for decorating

See the recipe card for quantities.

What are Italian Fig Cookies (Cucidati)?

These sweet dried fruit-filled cookies taste similar to Fig Newtons, a famous cookie eaten by children in the U.S.A. 

Italian fig cookie recipes are filled with walnuts, pinenuts, almonds, orange marmalade or jam, dried figs, golden raisins, and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and often anise seeds (common in the Sardinian version).

The filling is wrapped in a little bundle of buttery rough pastry dough (pasta frolla) and baked until slightly golden brown (these cookies remain soft).

Traditionally, cucciddati (cucidati) are topped with a simple icing and classic rainbow sprinkles that you find on other traditional Italian cookies, like Anginetti Cookies.

fig cookies with glaze and sprinkles on a plate. One cookie cut in half. ingredients in the background.

Types of Dried Figs

Any dried figs work for these Italian fig cookie recipes. These cookies are intended for dried and not fresh figs.

  • Mission Figs
  • Golden figs
  • Calimyrna figs

How to Make Pasta Frolla (Pastry Dough) step-by-step with photos

Make pasta frolla dough

process of making the pastry dough- adding dry ingredients to a bowl and mixing

1- Mix (dry ingredients) flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl.

process of making the pastry dough- adding dry ingredients to a bowl and mixing

2- Mix with a whisk until incorporated.

process of making the pastry dough. Adding the eggs and orange zest. to the dry ingredients.

3- Add the beaten egg and zest.

4- Mix the egg and zest into the dry ingredients. The dough will be very crumbly at this point.

process of making the pastry dough. Adding the butter to the dough mixture.

5- Add the butter to the flour and egg mixture.

process of making the pastry dough. Mixing butter into egg and flour mixture,

6- Mix until incorporated (the dough will be pretty “rough” at this point). 

process of making the pastry dough. Making one dough ball.

7- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gather it into a ball.

process of making the pastry dough for the cookies. Forming two dough balls

8- Form the dough into two equal portions.
Wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (up to 24 hours).

Remove the dough from the refrigerator 30 minutes before rolling it out if chilled a day in advance. 

How to Make Italian Fig Cookies (Cucidati) step-by-step with photo

These Italian fig cookies, cucciddati, may seem intimidating they are pretty easy to make!

Make the filling

figs soaking in water to make Italian fig cookies

1- Place the figs in a bowl and cover them with warm water (not hot). Let them sit for 30 minutes, drain and squeeze out any excess water, and set aside.

grinding nut mixture and spices in mixer.

2- Place the nuts, spices, and salt in a food processor and pulse to small crumbs. Pulse enough to form a thick paste, but not smooth nut butter.

3- You still want tiny nut pieces. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.

process of making the filling for the fig cookies. Adding the fried fruits to the food processor.

4- Add the figs, raisins, candied orange, marmalade, and marsala wine (orange juice) to the food processor and pulse until combined.

process of making the filling for the fig cookies. Adding the fried fruits to the food processor. Blended dried fruit finished.

4.1- The mixture will look thick and sticky.

combining dried fruit and nuts to making the filling for the Italian fig coolkies.

5- Add the fruit mixture to the large bowl of crushed nuts. Mix everything with a wooden spoon until combined.

Roll out the dough 

process of making the fig cookies. Cutting the dough and ready to fill the dough with the filling.

6- Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) and line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour. Roll 1 dough ball out into a rough rectangle about 8×13 inches and ½cm (¼ inch) thick.

Use a knife to trim the edges, leaving you with a neat rectangle shape. Cut the rectangle into two equal pieces.

process of filling the Italian fig cookies. Rolling the dough with filling to form a log.

7- Add 1/4 of the filling to one end of the rectangles, forming it into a log.

Fill Cookies

process for making the Italian fig Cookies (cucidati). Cutting into slices.

8- Roll the pastry dough over the filling until it overlaps at the seam. Trim off any excess pastry dough.

Put filled cookies that are cut out onto cookie sheet and bake.

9- Cut the log into 1¼-inch thick slices and place cookies seam side down on the prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart. 

baked Italian fig cookies on cookie sheet.

10- Bake for 18-20 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Repeat with the roll-out dough’s second half and 1/4 of the filling. Then, repeat the same process with the other dough ball.

glaze for Italian fig cookies.

Make the glaze

In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and milk until completely smooth.

Italian fig cookies on baking sheet with glaze and sprinkles on the side to dip the cookies.

Dip the cooled cookies in the glaze and colorful sprinkles. Enjoy! 

Traditional Italian Fig Cookies

Every Italian nonna has a recipe for these traditional fig cookies (cucidati). These delicious biscotti are famous in Sardegna since we have an abundance of fresh fig trees; they are harvested and dried and used to make cookies.

Cucidati cookies are traditionally made during Christmas time. A filling of dried fruit and nuts brings sweetness to the table without relying on out-of-season fruit.

Cucciddati cookies reappear in early March in communities wherever St. Joseph’s Day is celebrated.

You will also enjoy these Rainbow Cookies!

fig cookies with glaze and sprinkles on a plate. One cookie cut in half. ingredients in the background.

Variations

You can customize the filling ingredients to your taste! Here are some ideas to try the next time you make them.

  • Dried Fruit– you can mix the dried fruit to include dates and dried apricots.
  • Liqueur – alternative to orange juice, you can use Marsala wine, rum, brandy, grappa, or another liqueur you like.
  • Marmalade or jam– instead of orange marmalade, try apricot jam.
  • Vanilla – add a little vanilla extract if you like to the filling.
  • Spices – you can experiment with different festive spices such as cloves and anise.
  • Decoration – you can dip or drizzle the icing over the cookies and use any festive sprinkles. Alternatively, you can leave out the icing and dust them with powdered sugar.
fig cookies with glaze and sprinkles on a plate. One cookie cut in half.

Food Processor

I love my Cuisinart Food Processor. It does all my hard work in grinding the nuts and dried fruit! You can also use a high-power blender if you have one available.

*affiliate links

How to Store Italian Fig Cookies

Once your cookies have cooled, store them in layers in an airtight container. Separate each layer with a sheet of wax paper to prevent the cookies from sticking together. They will last about 1 week.

Top tips

  • Don’t over-knead the pastry dough (pasta frolla)  overworking the pastry dough will make it challenging. If it tears, it is easy to mold it back together.
  • Ideal dough temperature – if the dough is left in the fridge for more than 1-2 hours, let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes to soften slightly. Also essential to keep in mind- don’t let the pastry get too warm, or it’ll be too soft and hard to handle (put it back in the fridge if it gets too warm).
cucidati cookies on a ruffled cookie platter

FAQs

Can I make Italian Fig Cookies ahead of time?

Yes, you can make cucidati ahead of time. Prepare both the dough and filling a few days in advance and store them in the fridge until you are ready to assemble the cookies and bake them.

Can you freeze Italian Fig Cookies (Cuccidati)?

Yes, you can freeze fig cookies. Make sure they are wrapped well and sealed in an airtight container. They will freeze for up to 1 month.

More Italian Desserts

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Italian Fig Cookies Recipe (Cucidati)

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Italian Fig Cookies Recipe (Cucidati) are delicious citrus-scented butter cookies with a rich fig filling decorated with a white glaze and colorful sprinkles. These tender Italian fig cookies are a delightful Christmas-time treat.

  • Total Time: 2 hours (includes chilling time)
  • Yield: 24 cookies 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

Dough  pasta frolla

  • 2 cups (500 gr) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200 gr) granulated sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 10 tablespoons (200 gr) cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten

Filling

  • 2 cups dried figs, tough ends trimmed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup golden raisins (or dark raisins)
  • 1/3 cup candied orange peel or lemon peel (OR fresh lemon or orange peel combined with 1 tablespoon honey)
  • 2 tablespoons Marsala wine (OR orange juice, OR rum)
  • 1/3 cup orange marmalade (OR apricot jam)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground anise (optional)

Glaze and sprinkles 

  • 1 cup powdered sugar/confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Rainbow nonpareil sprinkles

Instructions

Make the Dough

  1. Mix (dry ingredients) flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Mix with a whisk until incorporated. Add the beaten egg and zest, mix, then slowly incorporate the butter chunks. Mix until incorporated (the dough will be pretty “rough” at this point). 
  2. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gather it into a ball. Form the dough into two equal portions.
  3. Wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (up to 24 hours). Remove the dough from the refrigerator 30 minutes before rolling it out if refrigerated a day in advance. 

Make the filling

  1. Place the figs in a bowl and cover them with warm water (not hot). Let them sit for 30 minutes, then drain and squeeze out any excess water, and set aside.
  2. Place the nuts, spices, and salt in a food processor and pulse to large crumbs. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside. Pulse enough to form a thick paste, but not smooth nut butter. You still want tiny nut pieces. 
  3. Add the figs, raisins, candied orange, marmalade, and marsala wine in the food processor and pulse until combined. The mixture will be thick and sticky.
  4. Add the dried fruit mixture to the large bowl with the mixed nut mixture. Mix everything with a wooden spoon until combined. It will resemble a thick paste. 

Roll out the dough 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) and line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour. Roll 1 dough ball out into a rough rectangle about 8×13 inches and ½cm (¼ inch) thick. Use a knife to trim the edges, leaving you with a neat rectangle shape. Cut the rectangle in half, so you have two pieces. 

Fill Cookies 

  1. Add 1/4 of the filling to one end of the rectangles, forming it into a log. Roll the pastry dough over the filling until it overlaps at the seam. Trim off any excess pastry dough off the ends. 
  2. Cut the log into 1¼-inch thick slices and place cookies seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Repeat with the other half of the rolled-out dough and 1/4 of the filling. 
  3. Bake for 18-20 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
  4. Repeat the same process with the other dough ball and the remaining filling.

Make the glaze

  1. In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and milk until completely smooth.
  2. Dip the cooled cookies in the glaze and then dip them in a bowl with the sprinkles. Enjoy! 

Notes

How to Store Italian Fig Cookies

Once your cookies have cooled, store them in layers in airtight containers. Separate each layer with a sheet of wax paper to prevent the cookies from sticking together. They will last about 1 week.

  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Sweet
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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