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!). On the first bite, I knew I had to learn how to make these, and surely enough, two years later I’m helping her make 800 of these cookies for her annual client gifts!
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 knowing that they take care to make makes them even more of a delight.
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.
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 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 filling ingredients leftover and having extra cookies around will make the effort worth it!
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 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.Print
Italian Fig Cookies (Cucidati – Traditional Sicilian Cookie)
- Prep Time: 48 hours
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 48 hours 45 minutes
- Yield: 4–5 dozen 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Cuisine: Italian
- Diet: Vegetarian
- 4 cups all-purpose flour (480 g)
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar (132 g)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces (1 cup or 16 tbsp)
- 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 tsp 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, add the almonds to a food processor, and pulse until fine. Pour almonds into the bowl of a stand mixer. Repeat this processing step for the figs in one batch, then the dates, apricots, and raisins in another batch to prevent your food processor from getting overworked. In the stand mixer of almonds, figs, dates, apricots, and raisins, add honey, orange zest, marmalade, cinnamon, and whiskey to the bowl. Mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until evenly distributed. Taste and add 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.) Spoon filling right down the middle of the rectangle. Roll the dough over the filling and place seam-side down. Cut cookies into 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 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 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
Say hi to Charly!
The inspiration behind these cookies is one of my greatest friends, and the best realtor I know. Charly Genco is a force. We became friends in 2018 after she sold me my first home and gifted me these tasty Italian fig cookies as a client gift! 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.