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Italian Fig Christmas Cookies Cucidati

Leave fig newtons behind, as these extraordinary little treats have taken center stage! Dubbed Cucidati, these scrumptious Italian fig Christmas cookies boast a crumbly dough enveloping a luscious fig filling, finished with a delicate frosting on top. The harmonious blend of flavors and textures in each bite makes them an excellent addition to your holiday baking repertoire or Christmas cookie schedule. With notes of citrus, this traditional family recipe is sure to become a new favorite. Whether you’re hosting a festive gathering, assembling a cookie tray for friends, or participating in a cookie exchange, these delectable treats are the perfect choice.

An Italian Christmas Tradition

Cucidati, also known as Sicilian fig cookies or fig Christmas cookies, offer a delightful combination of citrus flavors and spiced fillings wrapped in a sugar cookie dough. The name ‘cucidaci’ literally means ‘little bracelets,’ referring to the shape of the dough before it’s cut into individual cookies. This Italian treat is a staple during the holiday season, and its versatility lies in the fig filling, which can be flavored with dark rum, Grand Marnier, or even a splash of whiskey or marsala wine. For those who prefer not to use alcohol, an additional two tablespoons of orange juice, zest, or lemon zest can be used as a substitute.

Figs: The Star of the Show

Figs are often misunderstood as a type of fruit, but they’re actually an inverted flower that blooms inside its pod. This unique characteristic makes them naturally sweet and versatile for use in both sweet and savory recipes. While they may not be as juicy as other fruits, figs are indeed luscious. Originally cultivated in Asia, they’re now grown globally, making them a great addition to holiday baking traditions.Figs come in a range of colors, including green, white, black, and red, and can take on shapes like squat pears or ovals. The thin skin encloses hundreds of tiny seeds, which are technically fruit themselves, along with the sweet flesh. Fresh figs are delicate and don’t keep for long, but their dried version is available year-round. This versatility makes them an ideal ingredient to incorporate into Christmas baking recipes.

How To Make Fig Cookies

Chill the dough for at least three hours by wrapping it in plastic wrap and refrigerating it. While the dough is chilling, combine the fig filling ingredients – including chopped or ground figs and dates, orange juice, candied orange peel, sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon, almonds, and dark rum – in a single mixture. The combination of textures and flavors will create a delightful and complex taste experience. Once the dough has reached room temperature, roll it out into a rectangle shape and place the fig filling along the center of each strip. Use parchment paper to facilitate folding the dough, then transfer the cookies to a prepared baking sheet with the seam facing down. Bake until lightly golden brown, then immediately slice each strip into individual pieces. Allow the cookies to cool completely on a wire rack before adding your desired icing and topping.

Which Type of Figs to Choose

When it comes to making this Christmas cookie recipe truly exceptional, opt for dried Calimyrna or Mission figs. Both varieties boast unique characteristics that elevate the flavor and appearance of your final product. The Calimyrna fig, originally from Turkey and known as the Smyrna fig in its native land, boasts a delicate and nutty flavor profile when dried. This variety has been rebranded by Californian growers over time, and its name has stuck. On the other hand, Mission figs have a darker hue due to their origins among Franciscan missionaries who planted them in California during the late 1700s. Whichever variety you choose – Calimyrna or Mission – will yield delectable results for your holiday baking endeavors.

Finish with Festive Sprinkles

While it’s true that these fig Christmas cookies don’t always require sprinkles, there’s something undeniably festive about adding a pop of color. Whether you opt for traditional red and green hues or get creative with alternative colors, the end result is sure to be visually appealing. The combination of juicy filling, crusty edges, and smooth frosting provides ample opportunity to get creative with sprinkles too. In fact, it’s hard to imagine going overboard when it comes to decorating Christmas cookies – it’s all part of the holiday baking fun! If you’re looking for a sweet treat that’s sure to please both kids and adults alike, these fig-based cookies are an excellent choice. Not only do they make a stunning centerpiece for your holiday table, but the aroma of freshly baked goods wafting from the kitchen is nothing short of heavenly. Just be prepared for the temptation to indulge in more than one serving – after all, who can resist the allure of these rich and indulgent Italian fig cookies?

Fig Cookie Variations

While traditional Italian fig cookies have many variations, one common thread among them is the use of figs as the primary ingredient. However, some recipes take a different approach by combining figs with other fruits like dates or raisins, while others may incorporate additional flavors such as orange or lemon zest, or even sweet and tangy additions like apricot jam or orange marmalade. Nuts and chocolate can also be incorporated to add texture and depth to the cookies. Ultimately, regardless of how you choose to modify the recipe, the classic combination of figs remains a delicious and satisfying treat.

Fig Christmas Cookies Recipe

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Italian Fig Christmas Cookies

Bella Bucchiotti shares a treasured Italian Christmas tradition – delectable Cucidati, also known as fig-filled cookies. These sweet treats combine crumbly dough with a luscious fig filling and a delicate frosting on top, making them a true delight. With a prep time of 40 minutes, cook time of 12 minutes, and refrigeration for 3 hours, this recipe yields 28 delicious cookies in total.


To begin, cream the butter in a bowl using an electric mixer until it reaches a smooth consistency. Next, add the sugar, brown sugar, and baking soda to the mixture, mixing well to combine. Crack in the egg and add the vanilla extract, combining the ingredients while scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. On low speed, gradually add the flour in three to four installments. Once the dough is formed, divide it into two equal halves and shape each half into a rectangular form. Wrap each rectangle in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Meanwhile, prepare the filling by combining the figs, dates, orange juice, candied orange peel, sugar, lemon zest, and cinnamon in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat before reducing the heat to low and simmering for 6-8 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the almonds and rum. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature before covering it with plastic wrap if not using immediately. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit for about 15 minutes to soften. Place a piece of parchment paper on your work surface, lightly dusting it with flour. Roll out one half of the dough to a 10×8-inch rectangle. Cut the rectangle into two 10×4-inch strips and place 1/4 of the filling down the center of each strip. Use the parchment paper to bring one long side of the dough up and over the filling, repeating with the opposite side to form a log that encloses the filling. The dough should overlap slightly on top of the filling. Gently seal the edges using a bit of water if needed. Place the filled fig logs on the prepared baking sheet, seam-side down, and bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and slice each log into 1-inch pieces. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, drizzle with icing made by whisking together powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl.