This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Delicious, tender Italian Fig Cookies!
Unique and flavorful Italian Fig Cookies (Cucidati)
Italian Fig Cookies, Cucidati, Sicilian Fig Cookies or Christmas Fig Cookies are a few of the names you might find for this deliciously moist, tender and sweet fruit filled cookie.
With notes of citrus from fresh orange juice and lemon zest, the unique and richly spiced filling is wrapped inside a buttery sugar cookie dough that’s a dream to work with.
Baked in strips then sliced into individual cookies while warm, this method couldn’t be easier. Once cooled the cookies are drizzled with a lemon glaze and sprinkled with traditional holiday nonpareils.
The moist and lightly sweet filling in these Italian Fig Cookies is made by gently cooking the figs and chopped dates with a splash of rum, orange juice, cinnamon and lemon zest.
Chopped almonds are stirred in at the end then the mixture is cooled before spreading on the tender strips of vanilla cookie dough.
The unique and wonderful flavor of Italian Fig Cookies is like no other! With a spicy, aromatic, fruity filling and simple sugar cookie dough, this recipe is a must-make for the holidays.
Overview of ingredients
This recipe is divided into three parts: cookie dough, fig filling and lemon glaze
For the cookie dough:
- Unsalted butter at room temperature
- Granulated sugar
- Light brown sugar
- One large egg, also at room temperature
- Vanilla extract for flavor
- All-purpose flour
- Baking Soda
For the fruit filling:
- Dried Calimyrna or Mission Figs. These can be found in the dried fruit section of your local grocery store near raisins and nuts.
- Dried dates like Medjool, or substitute raisins if preferred.
- Fresh orange juice
- Dried, candied orange peel
- Granulated sugar
- Fresh lemon zest
- Ground cinnamon
- Finely chopped blanched almonds
- Spiced rum, Grand Marnier or additional orange juice
For the lemon glaze:
- Powdered sugar
- Fresh lemon juice
Italian Fig Cookies are much easier to make than you’d think.
Overview: How to make Italian Fig Cookies
Once each of the components are prepared, the cookies come together quickly. I love a multi-step baking processes that looks like you worked hard all day, but is really easy to do.
1. Prepare the cookie dough:
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars together until combined. Add the sugars, then the egg and vanilla.
In a separate bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar in three additions.
Divide the dough in half and form each portion into a small rectangle. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
2. Prepare the filling while the dough is chilling:
Combine the figs, dates, orange juice, candied orange peel, sugar, zest and cinnamon in a small saucepan.
Cook until the fruit is soft and the mixture is thick. Remove from the heat and add the almonds and Grand Marnier or rum, if using. Set aside to cool.
3. Assemble the cookies:
Roll one portion of the dough into a rectangle. Cut each rectangle in half. Portion 1/4 of the filling down the center of each strip of dough. CHILL the dough and filling as is for 15 minutes.
Fold the sides of the dough up and over the filling overlapping slightly. Seal the edges together forming a cylinder.
Transfer to the prepared baking sheet, seam side down.
Bake the cookies until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and immediately slice each strip into 1-inch pieces. Cool completely on a wire rack before icing.
4. Ice the cookies and decorate:
Combine powdered sugar and lemon juice. Drizzle over each cookie and top with sprinkles.
What are figs anyway?
We often assume figs are a fruit because they grow on a tree. But interesting enough, figs are actually an inverted flower! The flowers bloom inside the pod – isn’t that so cool!
Figs also have plenty of health benefits. Both dry and fresh figs are a delicious healthy snack. Figs are one of my favorite treats with their natural sweet flavor satisfying even the biggest craving for dessert.
Can you freeze Italian Fig Cookies?
In addition to having a wonderful flavor, these cookies freeze well and travel wonderfully when properly packed.
We’ve completed our annual holiday cookie tour! Pictured above are Vanilla Pretzel Cookies, Roczki Cookies (Kolacky), chocolate dipped Tuile Cigar Cookies (Pirouettes) and finally, these wonderful Italian Fig Cookies.
Thanks for PINNING!
Italian Fig Cookies (Cucidati)
For the dough:
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature (113g or 4oz)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar (55g)
- ¼ cup light brown sugar packed (56g)
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour (226g)
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the fig filling:
- 1 cup dried Calimyrna or Mission figs stems removed and diced (6 or 7 ounce package)
- ½ cup chopped pitted dates finely chopped (or substitute raisins if preferred)
- ½ cup orange juice fresh squeezed (about 1 orange) (4oz)
- ⅓ cup diced candied orange peel
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅓ cup blanched almonds chopped fine
- 2 tablespoons dark spiced rum or Grand Marnier orange liqueur
For the lemon glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar sifted (115g)
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (add more if needed for desired consistency)
- Sprinkles for decoration if desired
To prepare the dough:
- In a large mixing bowl beat the butter on medium-high speed using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar and mix until combined. Add the egg and vanilla and blend just until incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat again for a few seconds. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the dough in three additions, mixing on low to incorporate.
- Divide the dough in half and form each into a small rectangle. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
To prepare the filling:
- In a small saucepan, combine the figs, dates, orange juice, candied orange peel, sugar, lemon zest and cinnamon. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes or until fruit is soft and the mixture is thick. Remove from the heat and add the chopped blanched almonds and 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, if using. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap once cooled until needed.
- To assemble and bake the cookies, preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes before rolling out.
- Place a piece of wax or parchment paper (at least 14×10 inches) on a clean work surface. Generously dust the paper with flour. Roll one portion of the dough into a 10×8-inch rectangle. Cut each rectangle into two 10×4-inch strips. Portion 1/4 of the filling down the center of each strip (in a rounded mound). CHILL the dough and filling as is for 10-15 minutes before rolling into cylinders.
- Using the parchment paper as a guide, bring one long side of the dough up and over the filling. Repeat with the opposite side forming a tube and enclosing the filling. The dough should overlap slightly on top of the filling. Gently seal the edges.
- Carefully transfer the filled strips to the prepared baking sheet placing them seam side down on the pan. Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Remove from the oven and immediately slice each strip (using a large thin knife) diagonally into 1-inch pieces. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.
For the lemon glaze:
- Combine the powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Drizzle on each cookie then top with colored sprinkles if desired.
- Chopped candied orange peel can be found in the section of your grocery store with fruit cake ingredients.
- We use Grand Marnier in this recipe.
Here are a few more holiday cookies you might also enjoy – from all around the world!
- Lebkuchen – German Gingerbread Cookies
- Old World Linzer Cookies
- Ricotta Cookies
- Pfeffernüsse Spice Cookies
- Chocolate Pizzelles
- Zimtsterne ~ Cinnamon Stars
- Speculaas Spiced Cookies
- Russian Tea Cakes
Originally published November 2016, updated November 2021