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.
Servings: 36 cookies
For the dough:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
For the fig filling:
- 1 cup dried diced Calimyrna or Mission figs stems removed (6 or 7 ounce package)
- 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates finely chopped (or substitute raisins if preferred)
- 1/2 cup orange juice fresh squeezed (about 1 orange)
- 1/3 cup diced candied orange peel
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup blanched almonds chopped fine
- 2 tablespoons dark spiced rum or Grand Marnier orange liqueur
For the lemon glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 to 3 teaspoons lemon juice, just enough to make a glaze you can slowly drizzle
- Sprinkles for decoration if desired
To prepare the dough:
Place the butter to a mixing bowl and beat on medium-high speed with an electric mixer for 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar and baking soda. Beat until combined. Add the egg, vanilla and salt and mix until incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat again for a few seconds. Add the flour 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 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 degrees. 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 14x10 inches) on a clean work surface. Lightly dust with flour. Roll one portion of the dough into a 10x8-inch rectangle. Cut each rectangle into two 10x4-inch strips. Portion 1/4 of the filling down the center of each strip (in a rounded mound). Use the parchment paper as a guide and 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 seem 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.
Chopped candied orange peel can be found in the section of your grocery store with fruit cake ingredients.
Prep time does not include the 3 hours to chill the dough.
We used Grand Marnier in this recipe.
Adapted from a Better Homes and Gardens recipe published in Christmas Cookies, 2003