Holidays traditions say a lot about a family, and for my friend Charly Genco, one of her traditions is making these festive Sicilian fig cookies called cucidati. She made them for me in 2018 after she helped me buy my first home (she was my realtor before we became friends; more on that later!). Upon my first bite, I’m ashamed to say my first thought was “Mmmm, these are great Fig Newtons!”…. FACEPALM. I don’t think I ever told her that hahah – her heart would have exploded.
These cookies are packed with warm holiday flavors of figs, zesty orange, cinnamon, and whiskey. They are so uniquely Italian and truly a labor of love. Because of that, you don’t just get these from anyone, and they will cost you a pretty penny at the specialty Italian bakery. If you make them right, it’s a 2-3 day process that allows the dough and filling to rest and build amazing flavor. Now, I have no science to back this up, but I will stand by my conviction that the more care you put into your food, the better it will taste. These fig cookies are delicious on their own, but what I was missing upon my first bite in 2018 was knowing how much care goes into making these. I got first-hand experience this year into the process of making them, and their deliciousness doubled, instantly.
One Weekend, 800 Italian Fig Cookies
This year, I joined Charly in her annual bake-athon where she makes Italian figs for all of her clients. If you’re wondering how many cookies that is, that’s 800 of them. YES. That’s an 8 with two zeros. After 3 days, lots of butter, Christmas music, and wine, we got ’em done. I imagine most people will not be making 800 cookies, so the recipe we have for you makes 4 dozen. This makes the perfect amount for you, some family and some friends. I would not recommend halving the recipe because you’ll have so many fig filling ingredients leftover, and you’ll definitely want the extra because these go fast.
Day 1: Make the Dough and Filling
The first day is all about pre-making your dough and filling so that they can rest overnight. Start the dough in a food processor to cut up the butter, then knead into logs as pictured below to make it easier to roll out in the morning! The filling benefits most from being made the day before because it gives all the ingredients time to mix and mingle for the best flavor.
Day 2: Rolling, Baking, Icing & Drying
On our second day, we were ready to roll! Pull out the logs of dough from the fridge and begin rolling them out into rectangles. Spoon the fig filling down the center and fold the dough over, then lay seam side down. Cut into 1.5-inch pieces and arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet! Bake and cool completely before icing.
Day 3: Packaging & Picture Day!
If you’re making a lot of these fig cookies to give out as gifts, you’ll want to package them the day after you ice to allow the icing to set completely or else you’ll end up with a sticky mess! We packaged these up in clear treat bags and placed them inside a box with crinkle paper filler, super cute.Print
- 4 cups all-purpose flour (480 g)
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar (132 g)
- 1 tsp baking power
- 1 tsp salt
- 8 oz cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces (2 sticks)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cup dried figs, stems removed & cut in half (or 12 oz package by volume)
- 1/2 cup dates, pitted & chopped
- 1/2 cup unblanched almonds, slivered
- 1/3 cup orange marmalade
- 1/3 cup dried apricots
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup whiskey or rum
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 package (or 1 lb) confectioner’s sugar
- 1/4 cup evaporated milk (more if needed, 1 tbsp at a time)
- multicolor sprinkles
Day 1: Make the Dough & Filling to Rest Overnight
- Add flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt to a food processor and pulse briefly to mix. Then add butter pieces in 3-4 rounds, pulsing the butter into the flour after each round. Add eggs and pulse until a dough forms around the blade. Remove dough from processor and knead briefly on a floured work surface. Divide dough into 3 pieces and shape each into a log about 12-14 inches long. Wrap logs and refrigerate overnight.
- To make the filling, you’ll need a food processor and a stand mixer to pulse all the ingredients and then mix them all together – you do not want to be doing this by hand! In the food processor, add the almonds and pulse until fine. Pour almonds into the bowl of the stand mixer. Repeat this step for the figs in one batch, then the dates, apricots, and raisins in another batch to prevent your food processor from getting overworked. You should now have finely chopped almonds, figs, dates, apricots, and raisins in the stand mixer bowl. Add honey, orange zest, marmalade, cinnamon, and whiskey to the bowl, and mix with the paddle attachment until everything is evenly distributed. Taste and add any more honey, cinnamon, zest, or whiskey as preferred! Cover and rest overnight at room temp for the flavors to marinate.
Day 2: Roll Cookies, Bake & Ice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On a floured surface, roll out one of the cold dough logs into a 3″ x 14-16″ rectangle. (Keep the rest of the logs in the fridge because it’s much easier to work with cold dough.) You might have to whack the dough a little to get it to roll out. Scoop filling right down the middle of the rectangle and use a spoon to level it out. Roll the dough over the filling and place seam side down. Cut cookies in 1 1/2″ pieces and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. The cookies can be close together since they don’t spread much during baking. Repeat for the rest of the logs, and bake for 15-17 minutes or until lightly golden on the bottoms. Allow cookies to cool completely before applying icing.
- To mix the icing, add confectioner’s sugar and evaporated milk to a bowl. You’ll want it thick enough to keep its shape on top but not too watery. Add more milk if needed, one teaspoon at a time. Dip the tops of the cookies into a bowl of the icing and add sprinkles on top while it’s still wet! Allow icing to air dry and set completely before packaging the cookies. This takes a few hours minimum, so overnight is usually what works best.
Keywords: cookies, fig cookies, italian, sicilian
Notes for Packaging the Fig Cookies
If you’re making these cookies for gifts, take your creativity to the next level and package it in a cute box! Check out my Pinterest board below for a few homemade ideas!
Say hi to Charly!
The force behind these cookies, my most OCD friend & the best realtor I know. Charly is one of my greatest friends who actually was my realtor before we became friends. When we closed on my house in 2018, she gave me a custom binder she put together, tabbed with copies of all of my inspection documents, agreements, and insurance policies. And as soon as I flipped through the binder, I thought, “This level of OCD makes me SO so happy. Can we be friends, plz?”
I am drawn to friends who love what they do, and Charly is one of them. She hustles day in and day out and cuts through the fluff to make sure her clients get the best. If you are in the Baton Rouge area, chat with Charly for your next home! Check out her reviews here.