Cuccidati (Sicilian Fig Cookies) are fig and nut stuffed cookies traditionally served at Christmas, weddings or other special occasions. I am not sure why, but my Mother called them Wish-A-Da-Da’s. My Grandmother spoke broken English. It is possible that my Mother didn’t understand what my Grandmother was saying.
These cookies are traditionally made in Southern Italy and Sicily and it is believed that these cookies go back hundreds of years. Due to Sicily’s strategic location, it is the melting pot for a dozen or more cultures and ethnic groups. I once read that you could tell a person’s originating country by the color they painted their home, although I doubt that is still true today. The figs, dates, raisins and spices in this cookie show the influence of the various cultures in Sicily.
The outside dough is soft. The dough is rolled around a wonderful fig filling and cut into 1” or 2” logs. Some cover the cookie with icing and/or rainbow sprinkles. I have also seen them sprinkled with a little confectioners’ sugar. Our family has always made them plain. The filling is sweet enough, but you can add the icing and sprinkles if you prefer.
We actually have two versions of this cookie. My Grandmother’s and my Aunt Bernice. Since my cousin did an extensive video on my Grandmother’s version, I will post my Aunt Bernice’s version with some modifications that I have made. This is the recipe that I use.
I also learned that before the invention of the food processors in Sicily, people would take their ingredients to the butcher shops. “Once a year the butchers would clean out their grinders normally used for meats, so people could mince their fillings for cuccidati.” Luckily, today we have food processors and you will need it to get a nice mince paste for the filling. I end up doing it in batches, as even for my 7 quart food processor, this is typically a little too much to process all at once.
Filling made into a mince paste
Filling placed into a gallon freezer bag
Next day, slice filling into long strips
Cuccidati Being Rolled Out
Cuccidati Cut Diagonally
Cuccidati Ready To Be Baked
NOTE: I typically make the filling a day in advance and let it refrigerator overnight so all of the flavors blend together. The filling also freezes well. Occasionally, I only need a half batch of cookies, so I freeze the rest, but I double up on the freezer bags and label. I also make the dough a day in advance to let it also rest overnight. I then roll the cookies out and bake them the next day.
Cuccidati are a tradition in our home every Christmas. I’m sure your family will enjoy these.
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Cuccidati (Fig Cookies) Dough
A soft dough for the Cuccidati.
- 4 ounces butter
- 6 ounces granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)
- 3 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup milk, as needed to moisten the dough
- Step 1 In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Step 2 Add in eggs and vanilla bean paste (or extract). Mix well.
- Step 3 Add in flour, baking powder and salt, a little at a time.
- Step 4 Mix without over beating.
- Step 5 Add in the milk. Again, do not overbeat.
- Step 6 Wrap the dough in plastic wrap forming into a flat rectangle.
- Step 7 Chill overnight.
Cuccidati (Fig Cookies) Filling
- 8 ounces golden tan/amber color Calimyrna Figs
- 4ounces dates, pitted
- 4 ounces golden raisins
- 4 ounces raisins
- 4 ounces glazed mixed fruit
- 4 ounces almonds
- 2 ounces citron
- ¼ orange, zest
- ¼ cup sugar
- heaping teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 heaping teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 heaping teaspoon allspice
- ¼ to ½ cup orange juice
- Step 1 In a food processor, combine the ingredients for the filling.
- Step 2 Pulse until everything is thoroughly minced, almost a paste.
- Step 3 Add in the orange juice as needed to get the filling to come together
- Step 4 Depending on the size of the food processor, you may need to do this in batches.
- Step 5 Once processed, open a gallon freezer bag. Lightly spray the inside of the freezer bag(s) with a non-stick cooking spray.
- Step 6 Place the prepared filling in the gallon freezer bags and press to lay flat, no more than 1/2″ in height.
- Step 7 Refrigerate overnight so all of the flavors blend together.
NOTE: The filling will be sticky as you place it into the bag.
Cuccidati (Fig Cookies)
Delicious Sicilian Fig Cookies that are soft and packed with flavor. Often baked for Christmas, weddings and other celebrations.
- Step 1 Remove the filling from the refrigerator and cut the bag open.
- Step 2 Cut the filling into long strips to no more than 1/2″ in width. It will be much easier to place the filling on your dough this way.
- Step 3 Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Divide dough into equal parts.
- Step 4 On a floured surface, roll each section into a rectangle and desired thickness, about 1/8 inch thick.
- Step 5 Place a strip of fig filling in a row across the dough. Roll dough over filling. Wet the end to ensure the dough sticks to itself.
- Step 6 Cut along that row to separate that row from the remaining dough.
- Step 7 Roll the row you just separated to stretch out the length before cutting.
- Step 8 Cut row, on a diagonal, into pieces approximately 1” long.
- Step 9 Place the cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Step 10 Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
- Step 11 Remove from oven and place cookies on a wire rack to cool.
- Step 12 Store in an airtight cookie tin that has been lined with wax or parchment paper.